Legendary Black entertainer Josephine Baker is set to become the first Black woman to have her remains buried in the Panthéon monument in Paris — one of the highest honors in France.
“World-renowned music hall artist, committed to the Resistance, tireless anti-racist activist, she was involved in all the fights that bring together citizens of good will, in France and around the world,” the palace wrote.
She will be honored at the monument on November 30.
Later, Baker became a spy for the French military during World War II. While performing for the Nazi regime, she would send secret information she discovered to French officials through invisible ink on music sheets, the museum said.
Throughout her life, Baker was also outspoken against racism particularly in the US. As one of the few women speakers at the March on Washington in 1963, Baker spoke against segregation, comparing her experiences abroad to the place of her birth.
“You know, friends, that I do not lie to you when I tell you I have walked into the palaces of kings and queens and into the houses of presidents. And much more. But I could not walk into a hotel in America and get a cup of coffee, and that made me mad,” she said, according to the museum.