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Josephine Baker and her pet cheetah

This week the gal-pals talk about the mythic creature Josephine Baker. Josephine was a burlesque performer, a French spy, and a civil rights advocate who stood up to the KKK. She also walked her pet cheetah down the streets of Paris, had a goat in her dressing room and a pig living in her night club kitchen. Josephine is flippin’ amazing!!!

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YouTube Version

This week’s episode on YouTube has live Zoom video!

Show Notes & Extras

  • We’re recording on Zoom so that means video!!!!
  • The gal-pals this month are Dr. Leah Leah, Bonnie Fillenwarth, Katie Harris and Rebecca Berfanger
  • We have already talked about Virginia Woolf and her dog and Mollie Beattie
  • Get to know you question for this week is: if you could have any animal as a pet what would it be?
  • Leah’s 1 Cool Animal Thing is Josephine Baker who was a burlesque performer, World War 2 spy, and Civil Rights advocate
  • She had a pet cheetah, pet goat and pet pig
  • Leah did do a history bit story on her that you can read here
  • Quickly going past her terrible childhood
  • Harlem Renessance
  • Liberation in Paris

_One day I realized I was living in a country where I was afraid to be black. It was only a country for white people. Not black. So I left. I had been suffocating in the United States…. A lot of us left, not because

  • Banana skirt and her cheetah named Chiquita


Josephine Baker

  • The full story of Harper’s Bazzar editor Diana Vreeland running into Josephine at a movie theater with her cheetah (Lisa’s History Room)
  • Chez Josephine – nightclub
  • Toute-Toute her goat
  • Albert her pig


  • Weird fact – two men had a dual with awards over her honor in Budapest “you and I remember Budapest very differently”
  • Bisexual
  • Frida Kahlo romance rumor
  • World War 2
  • All nude parties in Germany
  • Josephine became a spy for the French Reistance
  • First American woman ever to receive the Croix de Guerre


  • Then things got weird
  • She did NOT put up with segregation
  • KKK threatened her
  • 1951 NAACP Woman of the Year



  • March on Washington 1963. She was there in uniform and spoke to the crowd. She might have been the only female speaker that day.



  • Backlash in America
  • BFF with Grace Kelly
  • Possible replacement to MLK?
  • Rainbow Tribe – her adopted children
  • Found dead in a hotel room
  • May 20, Josephine Baker Day
  • CORRECTION Josephine Baker Day was designated by the NAACP in 1951 not 1961 and it was because of an appearance in New York on that date.
  • You don’t have to be one thing!
  • CONFORMATION she did sing “Things They Are a Changin'”

  • One woman show
  • Triplets of Bellville movie
  • Paul Robeson
  • Nichelle Nichols
  • Bessie Coleman (Your Gal Friday episode about her life)
  • Is Josephine Baker a mythic creature?
  • Marriages
  • CORRECTION – Josephine died when she was 68 years old in 1975.

Podcast Cool Thing Squares (2)


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What if you could only share 1 cool thing about a topic? Would it be about ancient history? Would it be breaking news? Would it be safe for work? A group of gals gathers to present to you one cool thing on topics like painting, gaming, movies, music and more.

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