Josephine Baker (June 3, 1906 - April 12, 1975), born Freda Josephine McDonald, was an American-French dancer, actress and singer, sometimes known as "The Black Venus". Although born American, she became a French citizen in 1937. Early life Born in St. Louis, Missouri, the daughter of Carrie McDonald. Her father is identified as vaudeville drummer Eddie Carson by the official biography of her estate. She was of mixed ethnic background: Native American/African American.