Josephine Baker in her World War II Uniform, c. 1945
During World War II, Josephine served with the French Red Cross and was an active member of the French resistance movement. The French Resistance was a group of individuals who helped to win the war against the German Nazis enemy with undercover work. Using her career as a cover Baker became an intelligence agent, carrying secret messages written in invisible ink on her sheet music. She was awarded honor of the Croix de Guerre, and received a Medal of the Resistance in 1946. In 1961 she received the highest French honor, the Legion d'Honneur from French president Charles deGaulle.
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.