Josephine Baker with Her Cheetah, c.1930-32
Given the nicknames "Black Venus,” "Black Pearl,""Creole Goddess," as well as "La Baker” in her adopted country of France, Josephine Baker (1906-1975), was known as the "It girl who danced her way through the 20's and 30's only dressed in bananas". A dancer, singer, actress and a comedian all in one, Josephine Baker was is noted for being the first woman of African descent to star in a major motion picture, to integrate an American concert hall, and to become a world famous entertainer. Her acts were both outrageously funny and quite sexy. She was a star of stage, screen and recordings, a civil rights activist and an honored military woman during World War II.