Diamonds, in the raw are formed by pressure and later augmented by their many facets.
An analogy which could be applied to Josephine Baker.
The multi faceted life of Josephine reflects the many aspects of her inner strength and determination. Bakers deeds and achievements are immense. Many of these deeds are well known and recorded: Her glittering performance career, her adopted children and of course her eccentric menagerie! Yet some of her greatest deeds are less widely known, even to those who adore her as a performer.
In 1963 at 57 years of age Josephine Baker was the only woman to address a crowd of 250,000 people at The March on Washington. She shared the platform from which Martin Luther king gave his most famous “I have a dream” speech. The march became a key moment in the growing struggle for civil rights in the United States, a spirited call for racial justice and equality.
Josephine Baker spoke passionately against discrimination, drawing from her own life experiences. She boldly shared her painful memories of segregation in the USA.
Baker then told of her choice to “Scream back” at her oppressors, which slowly influenced change which “Opened a door just enough for the oppressed minorities to begin to squeeze through.”
In Josephine’s words…
“When you scream, friends, I know you will be heard”. “ And you will be heard now.”
This weekend Marches will take place all over the world. In Washington alone more than 170,000 people have registered to march with a further 247,000 people showing interest . The March is named the Woman’s March on Washington, referencing the 1963 event where Josephine spoke so eloquently.
The organisers of the 2017 march state that they plan to make a bold stand against the rolling back of human rights which those before us have fought to achieve.
To all of those standing in solidarity, wherever it is you will march this week; you should do so in the proud knowledge that you are standing on the shoulders of giants. Know that as you march as an affirmation of hope and of belief in the democratic process, regardless of the disillusionment and strife to come, that just one woman stood to address the crowds 54 years ago, and that woman was Josephine Baker.