| Joséphine Carson Baker
|| Frida Josephine McDonald|
|"the Bronze Venus | Black Pearl | Creole Goddess."
She first danced for the public on the streets of St. Louis for nickels and dimes. She began her dancing career as a 5'-7" tall chorus girl in a all colored revue in St. Louis called 'Shuffle Along' at the young age of sixteen. Baker was positioned at the end of the line and would do some crazy things that were funny during the choreography, while doing everything everyone else was doing, she would improvise, crossing her eyes, tripping, getting out of step etc. and the audience loved it.
At the age of 15, she married a ( Pullman) porter named Baker, but left him two years later when she ran away from St. Louis at age 17 to become a star. She Went to Paris in 1924 and in 1925 appeared in her first revue titled "La Revue Nègre," danced in the Follies-Bergere and other various nightclubs. She remained in France except for occasional trips to the U.S., due to the poor treatment in the states to African-American performers, she became a citizen of France. Baker was a civil rights pioneer and personally involved in racial equality throughout her life. Baker over the years adopted 11 children which she called the "Rainbow Tribe" to prove to the world they could live in racial harmony.
Baker returned to the states in 1936 to star in the Ziegfeld Follies. She was to become famous along with her "Banana Dance" routine she first performed at the Follies Bergere in 1925. During W.W.II, Baker stayed in North Africa. Baker studied Ballet with George Balanchine and Felicia Sobel who later choreographed dances for her. Baker had been seen dancing at the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem, N.Y. doing the Lindy Hop, which she loved to do.