For her first marriage in France, Josephine Baker had chosen a November 30. And already, in this fall 1937, the star of the music hall, who entered the pantheon on Tuesday, was making the headlines in the press, in particular … in the Oise.

“A Parisian wedding at Crèvecœur-le-Grand”, title “L’Hebdomadaire de l’Oise” dated December 4, 1937. Four days earlier, it was in this town in the north of the Picardy department that the artist celebrated his union with Jean Lion, a young industrial sugar broker.

It must be said that the mayor of the town, Jammy Schmidt, also deputy and chairman of the general council of Oise, is close to the family of the future groom. By choosing the town hall of this small village, the couple hope to avoid the turmoil of a wedding in the capital. But at Crèvecœur, the wedding will not go unnoticed …

“On Tuesday morning, sensational news circulated, jubilantly” The Weekly Oise “. We were told that Miss Joséphine Baker, the star of the Folies-Bergère, was going to get married at the town hall of Crèvecœur-le-Grand. “And the reporter to explain the reasons for this union far from the glitter of the City of Light:” We were told that the divette did not want to get married in Paris to avoid too noisy demonstrations, and that, being recently at a distribution toys with her fiancé (…), she had met Mr. Shmidt, friend of the father of her future. The mayor had then suggested that he proceed to his marriage in Crèvecœur, in the strictest privacy. “

Relative privacy, if we are to believe the local weekly’s account of that day. “Around 9 am, there was a big commotion at the town hall,” continues the columnist. The hall of the sessions was adorned with flags, garlands, and bunches of holly; we unrolled a carpet on the stairs to the sidewalk, we brought two beautiful armchairs … “

Soon, a “compact crowd” formed in front of the town hall. “When the cars arrived with the fiancés, parents and witnesses on board, it was difficult to cut through the crowd,” L’Hebdomadaire de l’Oise “assures us. Rifle shots erupted, violent, numerous, to believe that the hoods (members of the Hood, a clandestine political and military organization of a terrorist nature) of the country were all there with their blunderbusses. “

An entry into the scene that the bride of the day would have tasted little. “The frightened fiancée left the arm of her witness and wanted to flee, the reporter delivers. He was made to understand that all this din was, at Crèvecœur-le-Grand, a manifestation of sympathy. “

A “manifestation of sympathy” which continues while the future spouses declaim their consents in the wedding hall: “The street offered a very curious aspect with these many heads above which emerged a reporter perched on a double ladder. Cameras were aimed at all the windows. And at intervals, gunshots and firecrackers broke out. “

If this marriage which gives Joséphine Baker French nationality will only last 14 months, her memory remains permanently anchored in the memory of the Picardy town. “The Crèvecoeuriens [sic] will remember this happy event for a long time,” predicted “The Weekly Oise” after this crazy day.

“An illustrious bride from our town will receive the honors of the nation,” said the current mayor of the town, Aymeric Bourleau, in the town’s latest municipal bulletin. Even today, in this town where the Regional Adapted Educational Institution (EREA) bears the artist’s name, many are going over the thread of this strange wedding.

“My father often reminded us of this memory,” rewinds Charline, 71, who for nothing in the world would have missed the retransmission of this pantheonization on Tuesday. He was 11 at the time. He remembered that there was class that day, but the children were able to get out of school. It was a day that had marked the spirits. Since then, we have always followed him. When my father heard of her, he always laughed and said: I know her! “

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