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Joséphine Baker becomes first black woman to enter France's Panthéon

Josephine Baker during WW2. Credits: Getty Images

Joséphine Baker, an American-born French performer, will be the first black woman to be inducted into the Panthéon mausoleum in Paris.

Baker will be incorporated into the monument in November, according to the authorities.

The Panthéon houses the tombs of famous French figures such as Marie Curie, a physicist, and Victor Hugo, a playwright.

Baker will be the sixth woman to be inducted into the group of 80 national heroes.

Baker, who was born in 1906 in St Louis, Missouri, attained international fame in the 1930s after relocating to France to seek a career in show business.

She also participated in the civil rights struggle in the United States and was a resistance fighter for her adopted country, France, during World War II.

Her Panthéon induction honors her contribution to the performing arts as well as her bravery in actively resisting Nazi Germany throughout WWII.

While her remains will be buried in Monaco, she will be memorialized with a plaque on November 30th, according to one of her children, Claude Bouillon-Baker.

Following a family-led campaign and a petition with over 38,000 signatures, French President Emmanuel Macron confirmed Baker's entrance.

Baker's family has been demanding her admission into the monument since 2013, but only the president may approve inductees.

On Sunday, government minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher thanked the president, saying Baker was "a great lady who loved France."

Jennifer Guesdon, one of the activists, said the judgment had enhanced Baker's visibility, saying he was "only known to some as a worldwide star" before the decision.

Baker was a huge hit on the stage in the 1920s and 1930s, wowing audiences in Paris with her racy dance routines.

Her service for the resistance during the war solidified her standing in France, where she married businessman Jean Lion in 1937 and became a citizen.

Baker utilized her celebrity contacts to acquire intelligence about German army movements, which she scribbled on musical scores and passed on to others.

Baker was an outspoken anti-racism campaigner throughout her life.

She marched beside civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1963 March on Washington, where he delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech.

Baker died in 1975 and was buried with French military honors.

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