Essay about Josephine Baker

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Josephine Baker While Jim Crow laws were reeking havoc on the lives of African Americans in the South, a massed exodus of Southern musicians, particularly from New Orleans, spread the seeds of Jazz as far north as New York City. A new genre of music produced fissures in the walls of racial discrimination thought to be impenetrable. Musicians such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, "King" Oliver and Fletcher Henderson performed to the first desegregated audiences. Duke Ellington starred in the first primetime radio program to feature an African American artist. And a quirky little girl from Missouri conquered an entire country enthralled by her dark skin, curvaceous body and dynamic personality. Josephine Baker was more than…show more content…
While still in elementary school, she began dancing part-time in a local chorus line. She left home at the age of 13; waiting tables most of the time and working on stage whenever possible. She joined a group of street musicians who called themselves the Jones Family Band. The work with the Band paid off when Baker acquired her first stage appearance at the Booker T. Washington Theater, St. Louis's black vaudeville house. Also appearing was the all-black dance troupe, the Dixie Steppers. "The manager of the Dixie Steppers took a liking to Baker and decided to make her part of the group. Since he couldn't find anything for her to do onstage, she became a dresser, principally for the troupe's star, Clara Baker."# By 1920, she was married, divorced and married again - the second time to Willie Baker, a Pullman porter, from whom Baker took the name she used on stage. In April 1921, while the Dixie Steppers were touring in Philadelphia, one of the chorus girls hurt herself. For nearly a year, Ms. Baker had been studying the choreography of the show and practicing the steps behind the scenes. Another dancer was aware of Baker's abilities and suggested she fill in for the injured chorus girl. Ms. Baker took her place in the chorus line. Because she was much more lively and animated, she stood out from the rest of the ladies, which, obviously, is not the point of a chorus line. When the lyricist/composer team of Nobel Sissle
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