Josephine Baker to Become First Black Woman Buried in Paris’ Panthéon – Pitchfork

The remains of Josephine Baker—the American-born French dancer, singer, actress, and activist who died in 1975—will be transferred to the Panthéon in Paris, The New York Times reports. She’ll become the first Black woman and one of only a few foreign-born figures to be interred at the storied tomb. The Panthéon is also the final resting place of icons including Marie Curie, Victor Hugo, Voltaire, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. The funeral will take place on November 30.

President Emmanuel Macron reportedly came to the decision at the urging of a petition signed by over 40,000 people calling for the move. The Times noted the symbolic nature of the move. “How could a woman who came from a discriminated and very poor background achieve her destiny and become a world star,” the writer Laurent Kupferman, who started the petition, said. “That was possible in France at a time when it was not in the United States.”