The famous magazine leader, resistance fighter and anti-racist activist will become the first black woman to be honored in this republican temple located in the heart of Paris.
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The Franco-American artist and resistance fighter Joséphine Baker will enter the Pantheon “because she is the embodiment of the French spirit “, explained Monday August 23 the Elysee, the day after an article in the newspaper The Parisian revealing the decision to honor his artist memory. Born in 1906, Joséphine Baker became “engaged in the Resistance” and was a “tireless anti-racist activist” as well as a “incarnation of the French spirit”, explains the Elysee in a press release, confirming its entry into the Pantheon November 30.
“Through this destiny, France distinguishes an exceptional personality, born American, having chosen, in the name of the fight she led all her life for freedom and emancipation, the eternal France of the Universal Enlightenment”, specifies the presidency. The ceremony will make the famous magazine leader, born in Missouri and buried in Monaco, the first black woman to rest in the secular necropolis.
Josephine Baker’s body “will remain in Monaco where she is buried in the marine cemetery”, Jean-Claude Bouillon-Baker, one of the artist’s children, told AFP. The Pantheon will therefore host a cenotaph (an empty tomb) “with a plaque, as for Aimé Césaire and other personalities”, added Jean-Claude Bouillon-Baker. “The important thing is to mark your presence at the Pantheon.”