Description Josephine Baker, who become known as the Bronze Venus, was born St. Louis, MO in 1906, Before she was out of her teens, she had moved to New York and had become the highest-paid chorus girl in Vaudeville. By her early 20s, she was charming audiences in at the Folies Bergre in Paris.Baker quickly became one of the most famous women in the world. As an artist, she was an innovator. She was the first black woman to star in a major motion picture. Baker also introduced the Jazz Age to Europe.After more than a decade of increasing success as an exotic performer, Baker had become a French citizen and answered the call when World War II broke out. She was recruited as a spy for the French Military Intelligence and, later, joined the French Resistance. Baker also performed for the troops and worked as a nurse for the Red Cross. She was awarded the Croix de Guerre and the Rosette de la Rsistance and was made a Chevalier of the Lgion d'honneur by General Charles de Gaulle. When she refused to perform for U.S. segregated audiences most venues, most notably in Miami and Las Vegas, gave in to her demands, resulting in a sold-out national tour. In 1951 She was named the NAACP Woman of the Year Baker continued to work with the Civil Rights Movement, and was an ally of the NAACP and Martin Luther King. She spoke at the March on Washington in 1963 Josephine Baker died in 1975, following a retrospective performance in Paris. She received full French military honors and a public funeral attended by tens of thousands.
Kenneth Calvert, Saint Louis Member Since April 2009 Artist Statement Ken Calvert, painter, illustrator, graphic designer, and muralist was born in St. Louis, Missouri. He earned his BFA degree from Lindenwood University. His work demonstrates an ability to handle difficult aspects of the natural world as well as a sensitivity to modernist innovations. Among his numerous national and international solo and group exhibition credits are Philadelphia, PA, Chicago, IL, Rio de Janeiro, Hampton University, Howard University and Morris Brown College. Calvert’s "Cultural Connections" exhibition opened at the Beach Institute and Savannah State University in Savannah Georgia, in 1998. His works were featured at the Vaughn Cultural Center in St. Louis in 1999. Following his acclaimed exhibition / lecture, “Through the Eyes of a Child” at the Missouri History Museum, Calvert returned to the Beach Institute in Georgia for a yet another solo exhibition in 2003. Calvert is credited with the cover painting for the Missouri Historical Society publication, "Discovering African American St. Louis". Amongst his Murals is “Cornerstones of Courage and Culture” at the St. Louis, City Hall. Calvert’s painting of Chokwe Chief Ndumba Tembo, is included in the Anheuser Busch “Great Kings and Queens of Africa Series”. He was the 1997 recipient of the "Romare Bearden Award" for artistic contributions to the St. Louis community.