Jazz Age Josephine
African American entertainers
From the critics
From Library Staff
Young Josephine Baker “grew up singing nothin’ but the blues” and went onstage to become the toast of Paris and the world. A jazzy “fairy tale” with vibrant, high-steppin’, high energy art.
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"Well, she was born up in St. Louis, and she grew up with those St. Louis Blues / Yes, she was born in old St. Louis, and she grew up singin' nothin' but the blues, / She just had one old ragged dress and a pair of worn-out old shoes." That was Josephine Baker back in the day. Fortunately, the kid had pep. She could move and goof off and her dancing was so good that it earned her some money from time to time. Little wonder that when her home was burned by angry racists she headed straight for New York City. There Josephine was able to get some roles on the stage, but the minstrel parts were particularly galling. So off she flew to Paris and once she got there, "Paris, France - instant fame! / Everybody knows her name!" And though she missed her home, she was a jazz age baby and a hit at long last.
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"So she jumped on a boat
that was headed for France.
She was gonna show those French folks
how Americans dance.
It was the Jazz Age now,
year of 1925:
jumpin' jazz bands, sassy haircuts-
yes, the good times had arrived!"
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