Joséphine Baker was married in Crèvecœur-le-Grand (Oise) in 1937 as a fourth wedding to Jean Lion. She had thus obtained French nationality before her deeds in the Resistance.
Entering Joséphine Baker’s Pantheon this Tuesday, November 30, is an opportunity to reflect on her life, and to rediscover – perhaps – that the American artist had obtained French nationality by marrying… in the Oise. Joséphine Baker had married in Crèvecœur-le-Grand, north of Beauvais, a certain Jean Lion. It was November 30, 1937, 84 years ago to the day.
On the occasion of the American star’s entry into the Pantheon, the Oise Departmental Archives brought out some press clippings from the period, taken from L’Hebdomadaire de l’Oise and La République de l’Oise. Journalists at the time reported that the singer of Jai deux amours wanted to get married discreetly, without causing a crowd in Paris. A friend then invited him to get married in Crèvecœur. Marriage that began with … a gathering of the inhabitants of the town. Although wanting to welcome this initiative had initially frightened Josephine Baker. “The frightened fiancée left the arm of her witness, Mr. Paul Derval, director of the Folies-Bergères, and wanted to flee,” said L’Hebdomadaire de l’Oise. But the union finally took place after some explanation.
The marriage had only lasted three years. The couple had divorced in 1940. Soon after, war broke out and Josephine Baker joined the French counterespionage and the Air Force. For her feats of arms, Joséphine Baker received the French Resistance Medal with rosette in 1946. In 1961, she received the insignia of knight of the Legion of Honor and the 1939-1945 Croix de Guerre with palm.
The Pantheonization of Josephine Baker on November 30, 2021 is “symbolic”, since the coffin of the American-born artist will be empty. His body remains buried in Monaco, while the coffin will contain only handfuls of soil from places linked to his life: his birthplace in Saint-Louis, Missouri, Paris, his castle in the Dordogne and his burial place. in the Principality. The ceremony will be chaired by Emmanuel Macron this Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.