France will honor the first black woman with a burial in Paris | News | DW

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France will award one of its highest distinctions to the famous black Franco-American artist Joséphine Baker.

A request for burial of his remains in the Pantheon mausoleum has been approved.

Emmanuel Macron’s collaborator confirmed to AFP that the ceremony would take place on November 30

“It is a great lady, who loved France, who will enter the Pantheon. Thank you to Emmanuel Macron for this tribute,” French Minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher wrote on Twitter following the announcement of the decision.

Who was Josephine Baker?

Baker began her life in Missouri, United States, in 1906. She arrived in Paris in the 1920s and would go on to become one of the most popular artists of her time.

When World War II broke out, Baker served with the Red Cross and was a member of the Free French, a resistance movement that unexpectedly continued to fight the Nazis in occupied France.

Josephine Baker served in the French resistance during World War II and was highly decorated for her efforts

Baker received the Croix de Guerre and the Legion of Honor for his efforts.

She will then live in the southwest of France and adopt children of all nationalities. Baker quit show business and would make repeated trips to the United States to participate in civil rights protests.

Baker died in 1975 and was buried in Monaco.

Pantheonization, one of the highest French distinctions

The pantheon mausoleum is a Parisian memorial and the enthronement in the complex is reserved for national personalities in France.

An interior view of the Pantheon mausoleum showing ornate paintings and tall pillars

Interment in the mausoleum of the Pantheon is reserved for French national personalities of historical importance

The president is the only one who can decide who will be transferred to the inspired memorial of the Pantheon in Rome.

The family has been asking for his enthronement since 2013, by launching a petition that has gathered around 38,000 signatures.

“She was an artist, the first black international star, a muse of the cubists, a resistance fighter during World War II in the French army, active alongside Martin Luther King in the fight for civil rights”, indicates the petition .

Baker will become the first black woman to be buried in the memorial.

Only five of the 80 personalities buried are women.

kb / mm (AFP, Reuters)


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