Josephine Baker

Credit Line
John W. Mosley Photograph Collection, Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection, Temple University Libraries, Philadelphia, PA.

Josephine Baker (1906-1975) (receiving Emblem Club YMCA Award), began her career with The Jones Family band and the Dixie Steppers (1919) and in Paris for La Revue Negre.

Famous for her iconic Danso banana (the legendary banana belt dance that created theatre history), Josephine Baker (1906-1975) was not only a dancer but also a civil rights activist.  She was the first African American to star in a major film and her song “J’ai deux amours” became a classic.  In 1951, Josephine was featured in a return engagement as the star of the new Earle Theatre stage show in Philadelphia and she was given the Distinguished Service Award presented by the International Emblem Club, a service unit of the YMCA at the Christian Street Branch.  She also visited the historic Pyramid Club, a social and cultural haven for African American professionals whose mission was to foster the “cultural, civic and social advancement of Negroes in Philadelphia.”

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