*Singer, danger and activist Josephine Baker is set to become the first Black woman buried in Paris’ Panthéon monument, receiving one of the highest honors bestowed on French citizens, according to French newspaper Le Parisien.
Authorities plan to reinter Baker’s remains in a November 30 ceremony at the Panthéon, where she will rest alongside such prominent French figures as boundary-breaking scientist Marie Curie, writer Victor Hugo and philosopher Voltaire. Baker, who died in 1975 at age 68, is only the fifth woman to be buried at the iconic landmark; comparatively, 72 men have received the honor to date.
The government’s announcement arrives two years after French writer Laurent Kupferman created a petition calling for Baker’s reinterment in the Panthéon. The online form garnered nearly 40,000 signatures.
As a world-famous entertainer, committed civil rights advocate and key player in the French Resistance against Nazi Germany during World War II, Baker – born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1906 – represents “the embodiment of the French spirit,” says the Elysée Palace, official residence of French president Emmanuel Macron, in a statement.
Below is rare footage of Josephine Baker attempting The Charleston in clogs during a visit to Holland on August 24th, 1928.