Search icon


25th Aug 2021

Joséphine Baker to become first black woman buried in Paris’s Panthéon

It is a huge honour.

The American-French performer Joséphine Baker is set to become the first black woman to be entered into Paris’ Panthéon mausoleum.

She will be the first person to receive such an honour, with the French government saying she will be inducted into the monument in November.

The Panthéon is the burial place for well known and respected French icons, including names like scientist Marie Curie and writer Victor Hugo.

Baker is set to be the sixth woman to be buried here, along with the 80 icons already laid to rest.

Baker was originally born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1906, but rose to international fame in the 1930s after she had moved to France to advance her showbiz career.

She also worked as a resistance fighter in France during World War Two while also going on to have a role in the civil rights movement in the US.

This inclusion in the Panthélon recognises her contribution to the arts and showbusiness as well as her time spent fighting Nazi Germany in the second world war.

Her body is set to stay in Monaco, where she is currently buried, but instead will be honoured on November 30th with a memorial plaque, according to her son Claude Bouillon-Baker.

Her induction was apporved by French President Emmanuel Macron after a campaign was led by her family and a petition was signed by around 38,000 people.

The family had been fighting for her inclusion since 2013.

Baker saw huge success in the 1920s and 1930s, but it was her time in the war that made her so memorable in France.

Using her celebrity connections, she gathered information on German troops which she then passed on via musical scores.

She also was very outspoken when it came to racism, taking part in the March on Washington in 1963 alongside Martin Luther King Jr.

She passed away in 1975, being given a French military honour at her funeral.