josephine baker

During World War II, Josephine Baker served with the French Red Cross and was an active member of the French resistance movement. Using her career as a cover Baker became an intelligence agent, carrying secret messages written in invisible ink on her sheet music. She was awarded the Croix de Guerre, and received a Medal of the Resistance in 1946. In 1961 she received the highest French honor, the Legion d'Honneur awarded by then President Charles de Gaulle.

Our loss, U.S.A….

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Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker (2014)

“In exuberant verse and stirring pictures, Patricia Hruby Powell and Christian Robinson create an extraordinary portrait for young people of the passionate performer and civil rights advocate Josephine Baker, the woman who worked her way from the slums of St. Louis to the grandest stages in the world. “

By Patricia Hruby Powell, art: Christian Robinson

Get it  now here 


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While I was procrastinating on doing my ACTUAL homework, I figured I’d throw together a little appreciation post for these ladies who deserve more breath of public mention. I sincerely hope I’ve piqued somebody’s interest about at least one of these underrated women.

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Joyce Bryant (October 14, 1928)
• Joyce was born in Oakland, CA and raised in San Francisco.
• She was the oldest of 8 kids and raised as a Seventh Day Adventist.
• She eloped at 14 but the marriage ended the same day.
• In 1946, while visiting a cousin in L.A., she agreed to sing at a local club on a dare. The club owner later offered her $25 to sing on stage.
• During the 1940s, she began to perform regularly at different night clubs.
• Eventually she was booked on the same bill as Josephine Baker. To standout she dyed her hair silver using radiator paint
• In 1952, Joyce became the first black entertainer to sing at the Miami Beach Hotel despite KKK protests.
• In 1954, she became the first black singer to perform at the Casino Royal in Washington D.C.
• By the late 1950s, Joyce had grown tired of her than lifestyle. She disliked the men that frequented the clubs she performed at.
• She was once beaten by a man for rejecting his advances.
• In 1955, she quit performing.
• She devoted herself to the Seventh Day Adventist Church and enrolled in Oakwood College in Huntsville, AL.
• She traveled throughout the South and became angry at the discrimination she saw.
• She organized fundraisers for blacks so they could buy food, medicine, and clothing.
• Joyce also helped her church raise money by performing. She wore no makeup and her natural hair.
• She often met with Martin Luther King Jr. and was inspired to ask her church to take a stand against racism.
• Her church refused, which led her to return to the entertainment industry in the 60s.
• She trained with vocal teacher Frederick Wilkerson at Howard University. This led to her winning a contract with the New York City Opera.
• Joyce toured internationally with French and Vienna Opera companies.
• In the 1980s, she became a vocal instructor and worked with people like Jennifer Holliday, Raquel Welch, and Phyllis Hyman.