Léopold Sédar Senghor
Senghor’s political and literary careers were inextricably linked. Residing part-time in France, he wrote poems of resistance in French which engaged his Catholic spirituality even as they celebrated his Senegalese heritage. Senghor is the author of several collections of poetry, including Chants d’ombre (1945), Nocturnes (1961), and The Collected Poetry (1991, translated by Melvin Dixon). He also edited an anthology of work by African poets in French colonies, Anthologie de la Nouvelle Poésie Négre et Malagache (1945, with an introduction by Jean-Paul Sartre). His nonfiction work includes numerous volumes on politics, philosophy, sociology, and linguistics.
Senghor co-founded, with Aimé Césaire, the Négritude movement, which promotes distinctly African cultural values and aesthetics, in opposition to the influence of French colonialism and European exploitation. He also co-founded the journal Presence Africaine with Alione Diop. Senghor, the first African invited to join the Académie Française, was awarded honorary doctorates from 37 universities, in addition to many other literary honors.
Senghor died at his home in France at the age of 95.