She closed her speech by saying:
“I am not a young woman now, friends. My life is behind me. There is not too much fire burning inside me. And before it goes out, I want you to use what is left to light the fire in you.”
After the march the 31st August Baker wrote to Dr Martin Luther King Jr.:
“I was so happy to have been united with all of you on our great historical day. I repeat that you are really a great, great leader and if you need me I will always be at your disposition because we have come a long way but still have a way to go.”
She signed letter:
“Your great admirer and sister in battle.”
Listen to Bennetta Jules-Rosette, director of the African & African-American Studies Research Center at the University of California—San Diego, and Josephine Baker biographer reflect on hearing Baker address the crowds in Washington.
AuntAda adds this commentary: Just a clarification regarding the March on Washington. Josephine Baker addressed the crowd at the March before the official program began. Daisy Bates was actually the only woman to deliver one of the March’s keynote addresses. Bates was the substitute speaker for Myrlie Evers, who was originally scheduled to speak but was unable to attend the event.
Josephine Baker prepares to address the crowds at the March on Washington, you can clearly see the medals she was awarded for her service in World War Two (l-r) the Legion d’Honneur, the Croix de Guerre, the Medal of the Resistance, the Medal for Voluntary Service in Free France and the 1939-1945 War Commemorative Medal.