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Josephine Baker is 1st Black woman given Paris burial honor

Posted at 1:30 PM, Aug 23, 2021

PARIS (AP) — Plans are underway to reinter the remains of American-born singer and dancer Josephine Baker at the Pantheon monument in Paris.

The late entertainer who is a World War II hero in France will be the first Black woman to get the country's highest honor.

Le Parisien newspaper reported Sunday that French President Emmanuel Macron decided to organize a burial ceremony on Nov. 30 at the Paris monument.

The presidential palace confirmed the report.

After her death in 1975, Baker was buried in Monaco, dressed in a French military uniform with the medals she received for her role as a member of the French Resistance.

Baker is the fifth woman to be honored with a Pantheon burial.

According to the Associated Press, the four women honored with a Pantheon burial include Holocaust survivor Simone Veil, French Resistance fighters Germaine Tillion and Genevieve de Gaulle-Anthonioz, and Nobel Prize-winning chemist Curie.

The AP reported that the remains of 72 men are also at the monument.

Baker became famous during the 1930s, but moved to France in 1925 to flee racism and segregation in the United States, the AP reported.

Baker helped the French Resistance during World War II by collecting information from German officials then hiding the messages in her underwear to England.