Josephine Baker Google Doodle honors Jazz Age icon & highlights her civil rights work

Google traded out its homepage logo today to celebrate Jazz Age icon performer, civil rights activist and French spy Josephine Baker.

Born on this date 111 years ago, Baker reached international fame by the 1920s. A star of the stage, her singing and dancing won her a role as part of the chorus line in “Shuffle Along,” the first all-black Broadway musical. After moving to Europe, Baker’s celebrity status skyrocketed.

“She set off for Paris and found her fame and artistic home in the city’s opulent cabarets, singing and performing uninhibited dance routines that celebrated female liberation and African cultural identity,” reports the Google doodle team.

Baker was one of the most photographed women on the planet during her lifetime. She was also a committed fighter for civil rights, refusing to perform for segregated audiences and working to advance the NAACP efforts.

Google also notes Baker’s time with the French Resistance during World War II when she worked on the sly, “hobknobbing” with Axis officials at high-profile events to collect intelligence during the war, “…often writing it on her sheet music in invisible ink.”

After the war Charles de Gaulle awarded Baker the Croix de Guerre and inducted her into France’s Legion of Honour.

Google’s doodle honoring the performer leads to a search for “Josephine Baker” and is designed as a slide show, featuring a variety of images highlighting different stages of her life:

Google is sharing the doodle on its U.S. homepage, along with a number of its international homepages, including France, Germany, Poland, Russia, Argentina, Chile, Peru and Canada.

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