The scene takes place at the Elysée on July 21, 2021: ” It’s a yes ! “, said Emmanuel Macron after an interview with a group of personalities who came to plead for the entry into the Pantheon of the Franco-American artist, Joséphine Baker (1906-1975).
Among them are in particular “The novelist Pascal Bruckner, the singer Laurent Voulzy, the entrepreneur Jennifer Guesdon, the essayist Laurent Kupferman and especially Brian Bouillon-Baker, one of the sons of Joséphine Baker”, according to information given by The Parisian in its Sunday August 22 edition.
The ceremony honoring this eminent figure of the Resistance and the fight against racism, will take place on November 30, according to the daily, making the famous magazine leader, born in Missouri and buried in Monaco, the first black woman to rest in the secular necropolis. She was, already at the time, the first Métis music hall performer to make her place in the Parisian capital.
38,000 signatures two years ago
The file in favor of the performer of the famous song I have two loves had been examined for the first time at the end of June by the Elysee. A petition launched two years ago by Laurent Kupferman, in favor of the pantheonization of the artist, – born Freda Josephine McDonald -, had gathered 38,000 signatures.
“Artist, first black international star, muse of the Cubists, resistance during the Second World War in the French Army, active alongside Martin Luther King for civil rights in the United States of America and in France alongside the Lica [la Ligue internationale contre l’antisémitisme, devenue Licra : Ligue internationale contre le racisme et l’antisémitisme] (…) we think that Joséphine Baker, 1906-1975, has her place in the Pantheon ”, argues the text.
“She loved France and France loved her in return. With this pantheonization, we can say that this story is now eternal ”, confides to Parisian one of his adopted sons, Brian Bouillon-Baker.
Artist, activist, spy …
From the misery that saw her born in Saint-Louis, in an America where racial segregation reigns, to Paris where her talent and her work raised her to the rank of international star, Joséphine Baker will wage a permanent fight against injustice and for freedoms.
In 1926, to launch the Folies-Bergère, she became the headliner of the show Madness of the day, a satire of the colonialist vision of the “good savage”. In her country of birth, she will oppose the Ku Klux Klan and get involved in favor of the civil rights of African Americans, alongside Martin Luther King. In Europe, facing Nazism, she will engage in counter-espionage becoming a French intelligence agent, and will collect the Medal of the Resistance after the Second World War.
For more than a century, the Pantheon has been the secular necropolis of “Great men” French, including “Grateful homeland” wants to honor memory. This imposing building dominates the Sainte-Geneviève mountain, one of the hillocks of Paris, in the center of the capital.
Among the 80 “pantheonized” are politicians, writers, scientists, some religious and many military. Only five women are currently buried there, including Simone Veil, the last personality to have been, in 2018.