Léopold Sédar Senghor

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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).
References in periodicals archive ?
During April 1997, Wole Soyinka delivered the Stewart-Macmillan lectures at the Du Bois Institute of Harvard University under the titles "Reparations, Truth, and Reconciliation," "L. S. Senghor and Negritude -- J'accuse, mais je pardonne," and "Negritude and the Gods of Equity." By the time the papers were being gathered for publication, major developments had taken place: for example, Moshood Abiola and Sani Abacha had died.
Belinda Jack is also among the first scholars to examine Martin Steins' 1981 (University of Paris III) French state doctoral dissertation on L. S. Senghor's early years and Joseph Costisella's 1982 (Paris Iv) state doctoral dissertation on black consciousness movements in Paris from 1919 onward.