LéOPOLD SéDAR SENGHOR (9 October 1906 – 20 December 2001) was a
Senegalese poet , politician, and cultural theorist who for two
decades served as the first president of
Senghor was the first African elected as a member of the _Académie française _. He is regarded by many as one of the most important African intellectuals of the 20th century.
* 1 Biography * 2 Early years: 1906–28
* 3 "Sixteen years of wandering": 1928–1944
* 3.1 Academic career * 3.2 Military service
* 4 Political career: 1945–1982
* 5 Académie française: 1983–2001 * 6 Death * 7 Legacy * 8 Honors * 9 Poetry * 10 Négritude * 11 Works of Senghor * 12 See also * 13 References * 14 Further reading * 15 External links
Senghor's first marriage was to Ginette Éboué, daughter of Félix
Éboué . His second wife, Colette Hubert, who was from France,
became Senegal's first
EARLY YEARS: 1906–28
Léopold Sédar Senghor
At the age of eight Senghor began his studies in
"SIXTEEN YEARS OF WANDERING": 1928–1944
In 1928 Senghor sailed from
He graduated from the
University of Paris , where he received the
Agrégation in French Grammar. Subsequently, he was designated
professor at the universities of
Senghor started his teaching years at the lycée René-Descartes in
In 1939, Senghor was enrolled as a French army enlisted man (_2e
Classe_) with the rank of private within the 59th Colonial Infantry
division in spite of his higher education and his later acquisition of
the French Citizenship in 1932. A year later in 1940, during the
German invasion of
He resumed his teaching career while remaining involved in the resistance during the Nazi occupation.
POLITICAL CAREER: 1945–1982
Once the war was over, Senghor was selected as Dean of the Linguistics Department with the _École nationale de la France d\'Outre-Mer _, a position he would hold until Senegal's independence in 1960. While travelling on a research trip for his poetry, he met the local socialist leader, Lamine Guèye , who suggested that Senghor run for election as a member of the Assemblée nationale française . Senghor accepted and became _député_ for the riding of Sénégal-Mauritanie, when colonies were granted the right to be represented by elected individuals. They took different positions when the train conductors on the line Dakar-Niger went on strike. Guèye voted against the strike, arguing the movement would paralyse the colony, while Senghor supported the workers, which gained him great support among Senegalese.
In 1947, Senghor left the African Division of the French Section of the Workers International (SFIO), which had given enormous financial support to the social movement. With Mamadou Dia , he founded the _Bloc démocratique sénégalais _ (1948). They won the legislative elections of 1951, and Guèye lost his seat.
Re-elected deputy in 1951 as an independent overseas member, Senghor
was appointed state secretary to the Council's president in Edgar
Faure 's government from 1 March 1955 to 1 February 1956. He became
mayor of the city of
In 1964 Senghor published the first volume of a series of five, titled _Liberté_. The book contains a variety of speeches, essays and prefaces.
Senghor supported federalism for newly independent African states, a type of "French Commonwealth", while retaining a degree of French involvement:
In Africa, when children have grown up, they leave their parents' hut, and build a hut of their own by its side. Believe me, we don't want to leave the French compound. We have grown up in it, and it is good to be alive in it. We simply want to build our own huts. — Speech by Senghor, 1957
Since federalism was not favoured by the African countries, he
decided to form, along with
Afterwards, Senghor became the first President of the Republic of Senegal, elected on 5 September 1960. He is the author of the Senegalese national anthem . The prime minister, Mamadou Dia , was in charge of executing Senegal's long-term development plan, while Senghor was in charge of foreign relations. The two men quickly disagreed. In December 1962, Mamadou Dia was arrested under suspicion of fomenting a _coup d\'état _. He was held in prison for 12 years. Following this, Senghor created a presidential regime.
On 22 March 1967, Senghor survived an assassination attempt. The suspect, Moustapha Lô , pointed his pistol towards the President after he had participated in the sermon of Tabaski , but the gun did not fire . Lô was sentenced to death for treason and executed on 15 June 1967, even though it remained unclear if he had actually wanted to kill Senghor.
Following an announcement at the beginning of December 1980, Senghor
resigned his position at the end of the year, before the end of his
He supported the creation of la Francophonie and was elected vice-president of the High Council of the Francophonie.
In 1982, he was one of the founders of the Association
ACADéMIE FRANçAISE: 1983–2001
He was elected a member of the Académie française on 2 June 1983, at the 16th seat where he succeeded Antoine de Lévis Mirepoix . He was the first African to sit at the Académie. The entrance ceremony in his honor took place on 29 March 1984, in presence of French President François Mitterrand . This was considered a further step towards greater openness in the Académie, after the previous election of a woman, Marguerite Yourcenar .
In 1993, the last and fifth book of the _Liberté_ series was published: _Liberté 5: le dialogue des cultures._
2006 Memorial stamp from
He spent the last years of his life with his wife in
Verson , near
the city of
Although a socialist , Senghor avoided the
Marxist and anti-Western
ideology that had become popular in post-colonial Africa, favouring
the maintenance of close ties with
Senghor's tenure as president was characterized by the development of
Seat number 16 of the Académie was vacant after the Senegalese poet's death. He was ultimately replaced by another former president, Valéry Giscard d\'Estaing .
Senghor received several honours in the course of his life. He was made Grand-Croix of the Légion d\'honneur , Grand-Croix of the l' Ordre national du Mérite , commander of arts and letters. He also received academic palms and the Grand-Croix of the l'Ordre du lion du Sénégal. His war exploits earned him the medal of Reconnaissance Franco-alliée 1939–1945 and the combattant cross 1939–1945. He was named honorary doctor of thirty-seven universities. Léopold Sédar Senghor received a degree honoris causa from the University of Salamanca
Senghor received the Commemorative Medal of the 2500th Anniversary of the founding of the Persian Empire on 14 October 1971.
On 13 November 1978, he received the Collar of the Order of Isabella the Catholic of Spain.
The same year, Senghor received a honoris causa from the University of Salamanca .
In 1983 he was awarded the Dr. Leopold Lucas Prize by the University of Tübingen ."
The French Language International University in Alexandria was officially open in 1990 and was named after him.
In 1994 he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the African Studies Association ; however, there was controversy about whether he met the standard of contributing "a lifetime record of outstanding scholarship in African studies and service to the Africanist community." Michael Mbabuike , president of the New York African Studies Association (NYASA), said that the award also honors those who have worked "to make the world a better place for mankind."
The airport of
_ Senghor signing a copy of his Poèmes_, Universita degli Studi di Genova (18 January 1988).
His poetry was widely acclaimed, and in 1978 he was awarded the Prix mondial Cino Del Duca . His poem "A l'appel de la race de Saba", published in 1936, was inspired by the entry of Italian troops in Addis Ababa. In 1948, Senghor compiled and edited a volume of Francophone poetry called _Anthologie de la nouvelle poésie nègre et malgache_ for which Jean-Paul Sartre wrote an introduction, entitled "Orphée Noir" (Black Orpheus).
For his epitaph was a poem he had written, namely: _Quand je serai mort, mes amis, couchez-moi sous Joal-l'Ombreuse._ _Sur la colline au bord du Mamanguedy, près l'oreille du sanctuaire des Serpents._ _Mais entre le Lion couchez-moi et l'aïeule Tening-Ndyae._ _Quand je serai mort mes amis, couchez-moi sous Joal-la-Portugaise._ _Des pierres du Fort vous ferez ma tombe, et les canons garderont le silence._ _Deux lauriers roses-blanc et rose-embaumeront la Signare._ _When I'm dead, my friends, place me below Shadowy Joal,_ _On the hill, by the bank of the Mamanguedy, near the ear of Serpents' Sanctuary._ _But place me between the Lion and ancestral Tening-Ndyae._ _When I'm dead, my friends, place me beneath Portuguese Joal._ _Of stones from the Fort build my tomb, and cannons will keep quiet._ _Two oleanders -- white and pink -- will perfume the Signare._
With Aimé Césaire and Léon Damas , Senghor created the concept of _ Négritude _, an important intellectual movement that sought to assert and to valorize what they believed to be distinctive African characteristics, values, and aesthetics. One of these African characteristics that Senghor theorized was asserted when he wrote "the Negro has reactions that are more _lived,_ in the sense that they are more direct and concrete expressions of the sensation and of the stimulus, and so of the object itself with all its original qualities and power." This was a reaction against the too strong dominance of French culture in the colonies, and against the perception that Africa did not have culture developed enough to stand alongside that of Europe. In that respect _négritude_ owes significantly to the pioneering work of Leo Frobenius .
Building upon historical research identifying ancient Egypt with black Africa, Senghor argued that sub-Saharan Africa and Europe are in fact part of the same cultural continuum, reaching from Egypt to classical Greece, through Rome to the European colonial powers of the modern age. Négritude was by no means—as it has in many quarters been perceived—an anti-white racism, but rather emphasized the importance of dialogue and exchange among different cultures (e.g., European, African, Arab, etc.).
WORKS OF SENGHOR
* _Prière aux masques_ (c. 1935 - published in collected works during the 1940s). * _Chants d'ombre_ (1945) * _Hosties noires_ (1948) * _Anthologie de la nouvelle poésie nègre et malgache_ (1948) * _La Belle Histoire de Leuk-le-Lièvre_ (1953) * _Éthiopiques_ (1956) * _Nocturnes_ (1961). (English tr. by Clive Wake and John O. Reed ,_Nocturnes_, London: Heinemann Educational, 1969. African Writers Series 71) * _Nation et voie africaine du socialisme_ (1961) * _Pierre Teilhard de Chardin et la politique africaine_ (1962) * _Poèmes_ (1964). * _Lettres de d'hivernage_ (1973) * _Élégies majeures_ (1979) * _La Poésie de l'action: conversation avec Mohamed Aziza_ (1980) * _Ce que je crois_ (1988)
* ^ _A_ _B_ "Léopold Senghor". _
The Daily Telegraph
* ^ Africa Bureau (London, England). _Africa Digest_, Volume 8.
Africa Publications Trust, 1960.
* ^ Christof Heyns. _Human Rights Law in Africa 1998_, Vol. 3 of
Human Rights Law in Africa. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2001. ISBN
90-411-1578-1 , ISBN 978-90-411-1578-2
* ^ Sheldon Gellar. _Senegal: an African nation between Islam and
the West_, Westview Press, 1995. 0813310202, 9780813310206
* ^ Mbow, Abdoulaye (30 April 2011). "Retour sur la tentative
d’assassinat de Senghor et le meurtre de Demba Diop en 1967 : Quand
la peine de mort était encore une réalité au Sénégal". _L'OFFice_
(in French). Retrieved 28 June 2011.
* ^ "President Leopold Senghor to Retire". _Liberian Inaugural_
* ^ Stephan Haggard, Steven Benjamin Webb, World Bank. _Voting for
reform: democracy, political liberalization, and economic adjustment_.
World Bank Publications, 1994. ISBN 0-19-520987-7 , ISBN
* ^ Hakim Adi, Marika Sherwood, _Pan-African History: Political
Figures from Africa and the Diaspora Since 1787_, Routledge, 2003.
ISBN 0-203-41780-1 , ISBN 978-0-203-41780-5
* ^ "Africa mourns Senegal\'s Senghor".
* Armand Guibert ;background:none transparent;border:none;-moz-box-shadow:none;-webkit-box-shadow:none;box-shadow:none;">v
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