The French government has decided to honor the American-born French dancer and actress, Josephine Baker, by including her in the Pantheon cemetery in Paris, where French dignitaries are buried, becoming the first black woman to receive this honor. .
The government says Baker will be transferred to the Pantheon in November.
The Pantheon is the burial place of famous French icons such as the scientist Marie Curie and the writer Victor Hugo.
Baker will be the sixth woman to join nearly 80 national champions.
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1906, Baker rose to international stardom in the 1930s after moving to France to pursue a career in show business.
Baker was also a resistance fighter in her second country, France, during World War II, and played a major role in the civil rights movement in the United States.
Her admission to the Pantheon is recognition of her contribution to the performing arts and her courage in resisting Nazi Germany during the war.
While her body will be buried in Monaco, she will be honored on November 30 with a plaque in the Pantheon, her son, Claude Bouillon-Becker, told AFP.
French President Emmanuel Macron agreed to honor Baker after a campaign led by her family and a petition with nearly 38,000 signatures.
The Baker family has been demanding its inclusion in the Pantheon since 2013, but the inclusion of a personality in the Pantheon requires the approval of the President of the Republic exclusively.
French Industry Minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher thanked the French president on Sunday and said Baker was a “great lady who loves France”.
One of the campaign activists, Jennifer Giddon, said the decision raised Baker, who “is known only to some as a world star”.
Baker enjoyed tremendous success on stage in the 1920s and 1930s, astonishing audiences with her dramatic dance in Paris.
But her work in the resistance during World War II cemented her place in France, where she became a French citizen after marrying industrialist Jean Lyon in 1937.
Becker used her celebrity connections to gather information on German troop movements, which she secretly relayed onto papers where the music of her dances was imprinted.
Throughout her life, Baker was an outspoken anti-racist activist.
In 1963, I participated in the March on Washington alongside civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., when he delivered his landmark “I Have a Dream” speech.
Baker died in 1975 and was honored with a military funeral.