Léopold Sédar Senghor

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Senghor, Léopold Sédar


Born Oct. 9, 1906, in Joal, Senegal. Senegalese state figure, philosopher, and poet.

Senghor graduated from the faculty of letters of the Sorbonne in 1933, and between 1935 and 1958 he taught at various educational institutions in France, except during the period 1939 to 1942. From 1939 to 1940 he served in the French Army, and from 1940 to 1942 he was a prisoner of the Germans; he subsequently took part in the French Resistance movement.

From 1936 to 1948, Senghor was a member of the French Socialist Party. In 1948 he founded the party known as the Senegalese Democratic Bloc; in 1959 the party was reorganized as the Senegalese Progressive Union and in 1976 as the Socialist Party of Senegal. Senghor became its secretary-general in 1959. Between 1945 and 1960 he held a number of ministerial posts in France. From Apr. 4, 1959, through Aug. 20, 1960, he served as president of the Federal Assembly of the Mali Federation. In September 1960, he was elected president of the Republic of Senegal, and from December 1962 to February 1970 he was both president of the country and head of the government. Senghor is one of the originators of the concept of negritude, which asserts the uniqueness of Africa’s historical destiny and the uniqueness of the psychological makeup of the African personality.

Senghor’s participation in the Resistance movement is reflected in his poetic cycle Hosties Noires (1948). Senghor is also the author of the verse collections Chants d’ombre (1945) and Chants pour Naett (1949), the dramatic poem Chaka (1949), which deals with the heroic past of the African peoples, and other works.

Senghor holds honorary doctorates from a number of univer sities, including those of Paris and Strasbourg. He is a foreign member of the French Academy of Moral and Political Sciences (1969).


Nation et voie africaine du socialisme. Paris, 1961.
On African Socialism. New York-London [1964].
La Négritude est un humanisme du XX siècle. Dakar, 1971.
Poèmes. Paris, 1974.
In Russian translation:
Pesn’nochi i solntsa. [Afterword by M. Malyshev.] Moscow, 1965.
Izbrannaia lirika. [Foreword by M. Vaksmakher.] Moscow, 1969.


Potekhina, G. I. Ocherki sovremennoi literatury Zapadnoi Afriki. Moscow, 1968.
Sovremennye literatury Afriki. Moscow, 1973–74.
Guibert, A. L. S. Senghor. (Poétes d’aujourd’hui.) Paris, 1962.
Leusse, H. de. L. S. Senghor, I’Africain. [Paris, 1967.]
Mezu, S. O. L. S. Senghor. Paris [1968]. (Contains a bibliography on pp. 207–29).
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.