“Josephine Baker (June 3, 1906 – April 12, 1975) was an American-born French dancer, singer, and actress. Nicknamed the “Bronze Venus”, the “Black Pearl”, and even the “Créole Goddess” in anglophone nations.
Baker was the first African American female to star in a major motion picture and to integrate an American concert hall, and to become a world-famous entertainer. She is also noted for her contributions to the Civil Rights Movement in the United States (she was offered the unofficial leadership of the movement by Coretta Scott King in 1968 following Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination, but turned it down), for assisting the French Resistance during World War II and for being the first American-born woman to receive the French military honor, the Croix de guerre”.
Photo: American entertainer Josephine Baker in costume for her famous “banana dance”. Baker was an overnight sensation when she arrived in Paris in the mid-1920s. (Photo by Walery/Getty Images)