Paris made it possible for MISTINGUETT and MAURICE CHEVALIER to revolutionize the world of the music hall, and also, more surprisingly, for a Black American artist, the "Ebony Venus" Josephine BAKER, to win fame the world over as the first international black star, and activist.
After the Great War, many neighborhoods in the city of light were simply bursting with creativity and incredible boldness. All social classes danced away to Jazz, Ragtime, and the Foxtrot, then the Charleston, imported by African-American soldiers. For a Europe now at peace, this music was the sound of the freedom to which it aspired.
This project is born out of our desire to pay homage to this fascinating and timeless chapter of history, and to remember those who helped write it. Our aim is to collate public and private archives, to remember together an artistic movement that was, quite simply, unique. This shared moment was, and will always remain for us all, a wonderful example of liberty, fraternity, and creativity.
We want you to enjoy this place and what we are trying to do. We want this museum to be fun, inspiring, and educational for every generation.
The Harlem hellfighters
Nicknamed the "Harlem Hellfighters" by enemies surprised by their bravery, the 369th Infantry Regiment was made up entirely of African-American and Puerto Rican soldiers. Disparaged in their homeland of the United States, they were the first American soldiers to be decorated with France's Croix de Guerre (War Cross) medal for their numerous successful campaigns. And their success wasn't only just on the battle field, but also on the musical front, lighting up concerts and parades with the sound of jazz, especially when James Reese Europe was in charge.