Cover image: Collage – Place du Panthéon and Josephine Baker
Image of Place du Panthéon © Entrée to Black Paris; Image of Josephine Baker – Public Domain

“In a splendid ceremony planned by the Elysées Palace, Josephine Baker took her place among France’s greatest citizens as she was inducted into the Pantheon on November 30, 2021.

Six Air Force personnel transported a coffin containing soil from St. Louis (her hometown), Paris, the Dordogne region of France (where she owned the chateau called Les Milandes), and Monaco (her burial place) and draped in the French flag down a red carpet that had been laid along the entire length of rue Soufflot. Thousands of people, including many youth, lined the route to watch the ceremony.

Various recordings of Josephine’s music played as the procession moved along the street, which leads directly to the Pantheon. The pallbearers stopped in front of the monument and images from Josephine’s life were projected on its façade. The central doors opened, and the coffin was taken inside and placed beneath the dome. President Macron then delivered a powerful and eloquent speech punctuated with information about the key dates of Josephine’s life.”

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