US-born French dancer Josephine Baker is to receive France’s highest honour, decades after her death.
Her remains are to be transferred to the Pantheon in Paris on November 30, where the nation’s greats rest, the newspaper Le Parisien reported on Sunday, citing a decision by President Emmanuel Macron.
Baker becomes the first black woman to receive a place in the Parisian temple of fame. A petition to award her the honour was launched two years ago. About 38,000 people supported it.
The dancer and singer became known as the personification of the jazz style and for her wild way of dancing. She is considered one of the most important show stars of the 20th century.
Baker was also a French national heroine. During World War II, she first worked for the Red Cross, then in the resistance. For this, she was awarded the Legion of Honour, the highest French order of merit, both military and civil.
Later, she also fought alongside Martin Luther King against racism in her native America. After her death in 1975, she was buried in Monaco.