« Tap to Next Article »

Josephine Baker: Women Who Have Changed History

Josephine Baker: Women Who Have Changed History
Gaston Paris/Roger Viollet/Getty Images

Born into poverty in Missouri in 1906, Josephine Baker claimed both African American and Apalachee Indian heritage, and she quickly became a huge name.

Married at 13 and separated a few months later, she dedicated herself wholeheartedly to her passion, dance, which led her to the cabaret theaters in America and Paris, where she finally settled and obtained French nationality.

Josephine Baker is often considered to be the first black female star. Aside from her dancing, she was a very intelligent woman who came to run in high-class Parisian circles.

She joined the Red Cross, aided the French Resistance during the Second World War, and opened a château in the Dordogne where she welcomed children from all over the world.

When asked why she left the United States for France, it is said she responded that it was because she could no longer stand living in a country where she was "afraid to be black".