Josephine Baker…

… would be 100 today! Here are a few of her lines, from her “official website:”

“Surely the day will come when color means nothing more than the skin tone, when religion is seen uniquely as a way to speak one’s soul; when birth places have the weight of a throw of the dice and all men are born free, when understanding breeds love and brotherhood.”

“The secret to the fountain of youth is to think youthful thoughts.”

“… I improvised, crazed by the music… Even my teeth and eyes burned with fever. Each time I leaped I seemed to touch the sky and when I regained earth it seemed to be mine alone.”

“I believe in prayer. It’s the best way we have to draw strength from heaven.”

“Beautiful? It’s all a question of luck. I was born with good legs. As for the rest… beautiful, no. Amusing, yes.”

“I like Frenchmen very much, because even when they insult you they do it so nicely.”

“Since I personified the savage on the stage, I tried to be as civilized as possible in daily life.”

“We must change the system of education and instruction. Unfortunately, history has shown us that brotherhood must be learned, when it should be natural.”

“It [the Eiffel Tower] looked very different from the Statue of Liberty, but what did that matter? What was the good of having the statue without the liberty?”

“I did take the blows [of life], but I took them with my chin up, in dignity, because I so profoundly love and respect humanity.”

“We’ve got to show that blacks and whites are treated equally in the army. Otherwise, what’s the point of waging war on Hitler?”

“I love performing. I shall perform until the day I die.”

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1 Response

  1. poet CAConrad says:

    Thanks for these words from Baker.

    And thanks TOO for watering our mouths for more of Oskar Pastior on your post the other day!


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