Black Excellence in Dance - Josephine Baker

Born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1906, Josephine Baker would become one of the most famous dancers to grace the stage as a headliner in the Folies Bergere revues in Paris, France in the 1920's.

Her renowned performance in 1927's "Un Vent de Folie" featured her in a costume consisting of nothing more than a very short skirt made of artificial bananas, and an extremely strategically placed necklace of beads. This image became a well-known, and beloved symbol of the excitement of the era that would forever be known as the "Roaring Twenties."

Baker was also known for aiding the French Revolution during the second World War, after which she was named a Chevalier of the Legion d'honneur, and was awarded the Croix de Guerre.

Baker vehemently refused to perform for any segregated audiences when she was in North America, as she was a notable contributor to the civil rights movement.

In fact, in 1968 after the assassination of MLK Jr., Baker was offered a leadership role in the movement due to her activities focused on working to improve the lives of people of colour. However, this was an offer she felt the need to decline out of concern for the safety of her 12 children.

Here's to Josephine Baker. (June 3, 1906 - April 12, 1975)

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