Josephine Baker: A Breakthrough Starlet of the 1920's
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Ask anyone who the great starlet of the 1920s was and they will all say the beautiful and talented Josephine Baker. Josephine was known by many names, Freda Josephine McDonald her birth name, Josephine Baker her stage name, as well as “Black Venus”, “Black Pearl” and Creole Goddess (Louck "The Official Josephine Baker Website"). No matter whom Josephine was known as this does not distinguish the amount of work succeeded by Baker. Josephine Baker was an African American who broke free from racial offense by playing an important role in the Harlem Renaissance and showing people that she could become a respected dancer regardless of her race.
Josephine was born in St. Louis, Missouri on June 3, 1906 to Carrie McDonald a washerwoman and Eddie Carson a vaudeville drummer. Freda Josephine McDonald grew up in East St. Louis in the prime time that many black were crossing the Mississippi river, which made a big impression on Baker as a teenager. Josephine was very independent and did not depend on a man for financial support. By the age of 13, Josephine had joined The Jones Family Band, where she carried to completion various comical skits. After the troupes split, Baker auditioned as a chorus girl for the Dixie Steppers in Shuffle Along. At first Josephine was declined because she was “too skinny and too dark” (Louck "The Official Josephine Baker Website"). This in no way discouraged Baker. While working as a dresser, Josephine learned the routines and was by default the best