The remains of Josephine Baker, a famous French-American dancer, singer and actress who also worked with the French resistance during World War II, will be moved to the Panthéon Mausoleum in November, according to an aide to President Emmanuel Macron.
It will make Baker, born in Missouri in 1906 and buried in Monaco in 1975, the first black woman to be buried in the Holy Paris Monument.
A group fighting for her introduction, which included one of Baker’s sons, met Macron on July 21, said Jennifer Guesdon, one of the members. “When the president said yes, [it was a] great joy, ”she said.
“Pantheonization is built over a long period of time,” an aide told Macron.
The Baker family has been requesting her introduction since 2013 with a petition collecting around 38,000 signatures.
“She was an artist, the first black international star, a mouse of the Cubists, a World War II resistance fighter in the French army, active with Martin Luther King in the civil rights struggle,” the petition reads.
Another member of the campaign group, Pascal Bruckner, said Baker “is a symbol of one France it is not racist, contrary to what some media groups say ”, as well as“ a true anti-fascist ”.
The ceremony takes place on November 30, the date Baker married Jean Lion, a Frenchman who allowed her to obtain French citizenship.
The Panthéon is a memorial complex for great national figures in French history from the world of politics, culture and science.
Only the president can choose to move the remains to the former church in Paris, whose large columns and vaulted roof were inspired by the Pantheon in Rome.
Of the 80 figures in the Panthéon, only five are women, including the last inductee of 2018, Simone Veil, a former French minister who survived the Holocaust and fought for abortion rights.
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