Women's Month Still
NAME: Freda McDonald aka Josephine Baker
BIRTH DATE: 1906
BIRTH PLACE: St. Louis, Missouri
EDUCATION: Dropped out of school at the age of 12.
FAMILY BACKGROUND: Josephine Baker's mother was Carrie McDonald and her father was Eddie Carson. Arthur Martin was her stepfather. Her siblings were Richard, Margaret and Willie Mae. Josephine's first husband was Willie Wells; her second husband was Willie Baker; her third husband was Jean Lion; and, her fourth husband was orchestra leader Jo Bouillon. Her twelve adopted children were: Akio (male), Janot (male), Luis (male), Jari (male), Jean-Claude (male), Moise (male), Brahim (male), Marianne (female), Koffi (male), Mara (male), Noel (male), Stellina (female). Josephine's last marriage was to American Artist Robert Brady.
DESCRIPTION OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Overcoming the limitations imposed by the color of her skin, she became one of the world's most versatile entertainers, performing on stage, screeen and recordings. Josephine was decorated for her undercover work for the French Resistance during World War II. She was a civil rights activist. She refused to perform for segregated audiences and integrated the Las Vegas nightclubs. She adopted twelve children from around the world whom she called her "Rainbow Tribe."
DATE OF DEATH: Josephine died in 1975, in her sleep, after a large party given in her honor.
PLACE OF DEATH: She died in Paris and was buried in Monaco. She became the first American woman to receive French military honors at her funeral.
PORTRAYED BY: Vernice Jackson
CMG Worldwide Official Site of Josephine Baker
Josephine Baker biography from the Ultimate Band List
University of Georgia Libraries Paris Music Hall Collection - Josephine Baker costume illustration