Josephine Baker

Masonic Biographies

Josephine Baker

Born: Sunday, 03 June 1906
Died: Saturday, 12 April 1975

Josephine Baker was a social change advocate, world-renowned actress, and Freemason who was inspired by the Masonic ideals of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity.

Josephine Baker was a world-renowned actress, dancer, and advocate for social change. Born in 1906 and growing up in a rough neighborhood in St. Louis, Baker got her big break with the popularity of vaudeville theater in the 1920’s. Eventually she became a popular enough vaudeville dancer to go on tour in Paris. Once there, the contrast between the segregation she experienced in the United States and the renown she was held in by the Parisians made a deep impression on her.

She became enamored with France and was inspired by the ideals of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity that have long been a part of French culture and which are enshrined in Freemasonry. She married a Frenchman and called France her true homeland until her dying day. When World War II began in 1939, she stood firmly by her adopted homeland in its time of need. Recruited by the French Resistance to gather intelligence, her fame and high society contacts allowed her to spy with impunity on the Nazi forces that occupied her beloved France. She smuggled notes in invisible ink and later entertained the Free French troops as they liberated their homeland.

After the war Baker was awarded the Croix de Guerre by the French military and was made a Chevalier of the Legion D’Honneur by Charles De Gaulle. She was a lifelong supporter of the Civil Right movement in the United States. She was even invited to speak at the 1963 March on Washington, the only female speaker invited. Throughout her life, equality was her supreme moral principle, a sacred principle in Freemasonry. Sister Josephine Baker was initiated into the mysteries of the Craft in 1960 in the Grande Loge De Feminine of France, the culmination of a life’s work in the cause of human liberation.

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