Josephine Baker was born on this day in St. Louis. In her time, she was a world famous dancer and jazz and pop singer. She was also a civil rights leader who defected to France, where she became a citizen in 1937. Today, she is remembered as the first black woman to star in a major motion picture and a civil rights icon.

This post was contributed by Ross Malone. A historian and a retired school teacher, Ross has authored many books about Missouri’s history, weird facts, and folk tales. He has also written children’s historical fiction. Visit his website, and buy his books in the Missouri Life store.