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Senghor, Léopold (1906–2001)

Adebusuyi I. Adeniran

Subject History
Legal and Political » Political Philosophy

Place Africa » Western Africa

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

Key-Topics bibliography, political theory, racism, revolution

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405184649.2009.01335.x


A poet, nationalist, and cultural philosopher, Léopold Senghor established the Senegalese Democratic Bloc Party that led Senegal to independence. He was the first president of the country from 1960 to 1980 and the first African member of the elitist Académie française. Léopold (Sédar) Senghor was born October 9, 1906 in Joal, a semi-urban coastal settlement south of Dakar, Senegal's capital. His father was a rich merchant of the aristocratic Serer ethnicity–a minority group in Senegal. His mother was a Peul of the pastoral Tabor people. Senghor enrolled at Ngasobil Catholic mission school at the age of 8, and proceeded to Liebermann seminary in Dakar, where he completed his higher education in 1928. Senghor was awarded a scholarship to further his studies at the University of Paris. His contemporaries in France were Robert Verdier, Paul Guth, Georges Pompidou, and Aimé Cesaire , with whom he advanced the idea of négritude . During his school days, Senghor studied works by African American ( Harlem Renaissance ) and French poets (Rimbaud and Valéry). He obtained the aggrégation in French grammar from the University of Paris in 1935. Thereafter he worked as a teacher, initially at Tours, and later in Paris. Between 1935 and 1945, Senghor was designated a professor at the Universities of Tours and Paris. Meanwhile, at the outbreak of World War II in 1939, he joined the French army ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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