Born in St. Louis in 1906,
Josephine Baker came to be one of the most famous and beloved of
Parisian stars. She was, by all accounts, born for the stage. Already
at 13, she was performing dance numbers in the street. Shortly
thereafter, she joined the Dixie Steppers vaudeville troupe and
began touring the United States.
After starring in Chocolate Dandies,
a Dixie Steppers production, Baker made her way to Paris in 1925.
Still in her teens, she took the town by storm with her performance in
"La Revue Negre", an all-American, all-Black show featuring the music
of the Claude Hopkins Band, with Sidney Bechet. Returning a year
later, Baker opened a night club, Chez Josephine. Of all the American artists who
had flocked en masse to Paris during the Jazz Age, Josephine was
one of, if not the most popular. Far from minding the attention, she
enthusiastically returned the affection that was lavished upon her by the
country that became her home.