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The moving ceremony of entry into the pantheon of Joséphine Baker



Receiving the family of Joséphine Baker last July to draw the outlines of the ceremony, Emmanuel Macron had released in a burst of enthusiasm: “I want it to be mouthful!” “ The promise has been kept.

Wrapped in a large tricolor flag, the cenotaph of Joséphine Baker, carried by six aviators, went up, on a red carpet three hundred meters long, the rue Soufflot, at the same time as the night slowly covered Paris, leaving the capital put on his clothes of light.

→ ANALYSIS. Josephine Baker’s long road to the Pantheon

The procession set off at the sound of Josephine Baker’s voice singing: “Here I am Paris again! “ A night walk punctuated by different stations, punctuated by her photos and her successes, while the stages of her eventful biography, retraced in a sober text, were read by Sephora Pondi, of the Comédie-Française.

The emotion released by the choir of the popular mastery of the Opéra-Comique

Halfway through, the French Army choir sang, a cappella, The Song of the Partisans, the hymn of the Resistance, then a few meters further, undoubtedly the most moving moment of this procession, the choir of the popular control of the Opéra-Comique took over, in sign language, the programmatic song of Joséphine on his adoptions: In my village.

→ STORY. Joséphine Baker, resistant from the start

A roar of applause from the street invaded the Pantheon where a thousand guests were gathered, around the President of the Republic and the family of Josephine Baker. “Her Rainbow Tribe, as she called it, is the most beautiful of humanist manifestos. Epiphany of universalism in which she believed so much “, Emmanuel Macron will say in his speech.

Place du Panthéon, a spectacular video projection, transforming the secular temple into a scintillating theater and music hall scene, unfolded the great hours of the impetuous woman who justified her dubbing among “the Great Men”. And it is, greeted by the requiem of Pascal Dusapin, In Nomine Lucis (“In the name of light”), composed for Maurice Genevoix, that Joséphine entered the nave, between the two monumental sculptures of Anselm Kiefer on the dead of the Great War.

→ READ. On April 12, 1975, Joséphine Baker died

Under the Cupola, in front of the catafalque surrounded by two quotes from Joséphine Baker (“All men can live together if they wish” and “It is France which made me what I am, I will keep him an eternal gratitude”), Emmanuel Macron relayed his message at length, relying on the courage of his commitments.

“Black defending blacks, but first and foremost a woman defending mankind (…) Dazzling with beauty and lucidity in a century of bewilderment, she made the right choices at every turn of history, always distinguishing the Enlightenment. from the darkness. And yet, nothing, nothing was written. “

Analyzing his transformations, he continued. “Through her carefree never unconsciousness, her always cheerful courage, this lightness fringed with sadness which those who have already lived display, the American, refugee in Paris, becomes the incarnation of the French spirit and the symbol of an era. . “

“Emancipation versus Assignment”

Telescoping effect, the very day when a polemicist, several times condemned for “provocation to racial discrimination” and “incitement to hatred”, ran for the presidency of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron insisted on the exemplary nature of Josephine Baker: “Its cause was universalism, the unity of mankind. Equality of all before Identity of each. Hospitality for all the differences united by the same will, the same dignity. Emancipation versus Assignment. “

At the exit, three members of the “rainbow tribe” confided. “We are living an exceptional moment because she was an exceptional woman, commented Akio Bouillon Baker, the eldest son. Mom would have been very happy. The pleasure was to see and hear this audience outside, which was his audience and always loved it. Mom represents all of the forgotten in history. His entry into the Pantheon is that of all those working for a better world. “

According to Brian, “It was a moving and dignified ceremony which gave off a form of serenity, peace, inner joy, even elevation”. Jean-Claude added : “After this tribute so beautiful, so moving, we can hardly go beyond. It remains to teach its values ​​and be inspired by them. “

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