The latest Black History Live! statewide tour will feature the living-history portrayal by nationally acclaimed scholar/actor Becky Stone of Josephine Baker, a world-renowned performer, World War II spy, and civil rights activist. A FREE performance open to the public is set for Friday, February 10, 2023, at 10 a.m. at Windsor Gardens in Denver.
At each performance, Stone’s Black History Live portrayal will be followed by a Q&A, first with the character Josephine Baker, and then with Becky Stone.
Stone’s Josephine Baker portrayal transports audience members to the early 1900s, a time when all women, and particularly women of color, struggled to find their place in a more modern America.
Baker’s performances prominently used African themes and style for her predominantly white audiences.
She became known across the world as a comedian, a dancer, and eventually the first black woman to star in a major motion picture in 1927.
She traveled and shared her gift for entertainment with the world and fought back against the Nazi regime in World War II by passing secrets to French military officials using invisible ink on music sheets.
She was a sub-lieutenant in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force, awarded the Medal of the Resistance with Rosette, and named a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor by the French government.
Later in life, she became a vocal activist against racial injustice in America and was recognized for her work in opposition to segregation and racial discrimination by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) during the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
Stone says of Josephine Baker, “On her world tours, Josephine visited ‘the people,’ gave interviews, appeared at universities and political gatherings, and was hosted by royalty and political leaders. She also spoke publicly about the oppressive race relations in the United States. She never spoke against America.
“She simply spoke about life in our country for people of color. The United States government did not like it. The foreign press was covering the atrocities of Jim Crow and how it pervaded American life.
“And here was a prominent American providing the Soviet propaganda machine evidence that democracy was a fraud. Suspecting her of being a Communist, the FBI investigated her and found that she had absolutely no ties to the Communist Party here or abroad.
“Her mission was simple – pressure America to live up to its promises.”
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