Josephine Baker

Celebrating Josephine Baker

Join us on Nov. 30th at Graham Chapel to celebrate Josephine Baker.

Please join us in Graham Chapel for a celebration of St. Louis-born Josephine Baker: performing artist, fashion icon, Resistance hero, adoptive mother to a “Rainbow Tribe” of twelve children from different countries, speaker at the 1963 March on Washington – and now, the first woman of color to be entombed as a French national hero in the Panthéon. 

Special guests including St. Louis mayor Tishaura Jones, Washington University chancellor Andrew Martin, general consul of France Yannick Tagand, musical performances by WashU students, and fifth-graders from the French Immersion School will help our panel of artists, performers, and scholars pay tribute to the incomparable Josephine Baker. 

Opening Remarks
- Welcome from Professor Julie Singer
- Chancellor Andrew Martin
- St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones
- Yannick Tagand, General Consul of France in Chicago

II. Musical Performance
- Introduction by Professor Lionel Cuillé
- St. Louis Language Immersion School, French 5th Grade
Choreography by Mme. Coumba Gueye
- Danse chorégraphique: “Paris”, “Paris mes Amours”,
& “Medley of American Songs & The Charleston”
- Meher Arora, WU ’23, “J’ai Deux Amours”
- Jenise Sheppard, WU ’22, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”

III. Reading: Josephine Baker’s Speech at the March on
Washington, 1963

- Grace Gore, double major in French and English, WU ’22

IV. Panel: Josephine Baker’s Artistic and Activist Legacy
Introduction: Joanna Dee Das, Assistant Professor,
Performing Arts Department
Moderator: Patrick Burke, Chair, Department of Music
- Lois Conley, President of The Griot Museum of Black History
- Heather Beal Himes, Choreographer and Director of
Audience Services, St. Louis Black Repertory Company
- Geoff K. Ward, Professor, African & African-American
- Denise Ward-Brown, Professor, Sam Fox School

This celebration is sponsored by French Connexions, the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, and the Divided City initiative.

*image- Van Vechten, Carl, photographer. Portrait of Josephine Baker. , 1951. Photograph.

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