Josephine Baker is set to receive France’s highest burial honor on Tuesday (November 30) and will be officially reinterred at the Panthéon in Paris.
The legendary performer, entertainer, activist and war hero is only the sixth woman to be buried at the national monument and the first Black woman and first US-born person and performing artist to be buried there.
French President Emmanuel Macron is set to give remarks, and Baker’s children will read excerpts from her most well-known speeches, NBC News reported. A children’s choir will also perform during the ceremony and a video highlighting Baker’s remarkable achievements will be played.
Josephine Baker was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1906 and rose to fame during the 1930s as a singer, dancer, and entertainer. She traveled to France and performed there before becoming a French citizen in 1937.
During World War II, Baker joined the French Resistance and led clandestine operations to support the country’s efforts. She even used her star power to carry coded messages across country lines and refused to perform for Nazis who occupied France at the time.
At the time of her death, Baker was buried in the French military uniform and medals she received for her service to the country.
“She wanted the world to be better,” one of Baker’s 12 adopted children, Akio Bouillon told NBC News. “That was her aim in life.”
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