Essay Title: 

Josephine backer

March 18, 2016 | Author: | Posted in geology and geophysics, nature

Josephine Baker : Racial Refugee Comes Home

One hundred years ago a star was born , but its light , like that of real stars , took many years to reach us . Josephine Baker , dancer , actress and singer , shone on the stages of France long before she was accepted here in her native country . Having escaped from the poverty of her early childhood , Baker became a legendary performer in France only to be dismissed by American audiences of the 30s . Her story , fortunately , does not end there , as the changing social climate led to Baker ‘s eventual [banner_entry_middle]

br return and her efforts in the civil rights movement . Though it took decades , the Black Venus ‘ finally claimed her place in the history of American entertainers

Baker ‘s early family life was a world away from the life of glamour she was to later lead in France . Born Freda Josephine McDonald in St . Louis Missouri in 1906 , Baker was subjected to the racial prejudices of the times as a result of her mixed Native American and African-American origin . Sources vary on the identity of Baker ‘s father , but the official version lists Eddie Carson , a vaudeville drummer , and Carrie McDonald , a washerwoman ‘ as Baker ‘s parents . As an infant , Josephine was taken by her mother to winerooms and vaudeville houses where her father performed (Haney 1981 ,

. 6 . St . Louis had an important music scene at the time , and this certainly had quite an impact on the young Freda

Carson soon abandoned mother and child , and Baker ‘s mother married another man , Arthur Martin , with whom she bore a son and two more daughters . Martin , often unemployed , could not support the household and so Baker ‘s childhood was spent cleaning , babysitting and waitressing . Baker describes working for the Mistress ‘ a wealthy white woman , in her autobiography , where she was required to get up at five in the morning (Baker and Bouillon 1977 ,

. 3 : There was coal to fetch , the stove to stoke , chamber pots and spittoons to empty , bed to make wood to cut , the kitchen clean ‘ She did manage to go to school but then worked after school as well , sleeping in the Mistress ‘s cellar at night . Baker was only seven years old . Haney (1981 ,

. 10 ) suggests that Josephine ‘s mother harbored resentment against her daughter blaming her for the loss of Carson perhaps this , along with the family ‘s poverty , explains why Carrie McDonald sent her daughter to the Mistress . Josephine finally returned home after the Mistress was arrested for physically abusing her , but Josephine wound up living much of the time with her grandmother and aunt as her relationship with her mother deteriorated even further

Baker ‘s feelings for the country of her birth were always to be influenced by the experiences of her youth in Missouri . In her autobiography , she recounts the story of seeing her neighborhood go up in flames and seeing a black man beaten when whites decided to avenge the alleged rape of a white woman in… [banner_entry_footer]


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