Josephine Baker To Be Celebrated November 28 For Her Work To Desegregate Miami Clubs
MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) – The city of Miami Beach will be paying special tribute to Josephine Baker on November 28, declaring it a day in honor of her. She helped desegregate clubs during the Jim Crow era.
“She’s not just a singer who left America and made it big in France, she could have stayed in France but she wanted to come back here,” Bianca Rosario said.
Rosario performed some of Baker’s songs at the National Hotel in Miami Beach Wednesday morning as part of the announcement.
“Listening to a lot of her songs, it’s just very fun, very vibrant,” Rosario said.
And yet, decades ago, she was not welcomed in parts of Miami. Baker changed all that. After making it big in France, even joining the French Resistance as a spy in World War II, she came back to America. When she stopped in Miami Beach in 1951, she refused to perform at venues that were segregated.
“And she basically opened up opportunities for all musicians,” Rosario said.
She convinced the jewel of Miami back then, the Copa City Club, to desegregate. They agreed. Her shows went on to packed audiences.
For her life’s work, the French are honoring her in the Pantheon, a monument in Paris that recognizes great citizens, such as Victor Hugo and Alexander Dumas to name a few.
“She really campaigned about civil rights all over the world, bringing, the idea of fraternity and equality,” Laurent Gallisot, Consul General of France in Miami.
In conjunction with the French dedication, there will be a special celebration in the the city of Miami Beach November 28, gathering leaders, artists and musicians in her tribute.
Over the years, Baker’s contributions have sometimes been overlooked.
“I think everyone needs to know who she is, to know that this is the woman who has paved the way for us in our community,” said Rosario.
Rosario is doing her part to sing her praises and give her some of the credit she deserves. Rosario will be singing as part of the a tribute performance happening at the National Hotel on November 28 at 8pm.