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négritude(nĕg`rĭto͞od', –tyo͞od), a literary movement on the part of French-speaking African and Caribbean writers who lived in Paris during the 1930s, 40s, and 50s. Adherents of négritude included Leopold Sédar SenghorSenghor, Léopold Sédar
, 1906–2001, African statesman and poet; president (1960–80) of the Republic of Senegal, b. Joal. The son of a prosperous landowner, Senghor was extraordinarily gifted in literature and won a scholarship to study at the Sorbonne
..... Click the link for more information. , Léon DamasDamas, Léon
(Léon-Gentran Damas), 1912–78, French poet, b. French Guiana. With Léopold Senghor and Aimé Césaire he was one of the first adherents of négritude, a cultural movement emphasizing black consciousness.
..... Click the link for more information. , and Aimé CésaireCésaire, Aimé
(Aimé Fernand Césaire) , 1913–2008, West Indian poet and essayist who wrote in French. After studying in Paris he became concerned with the plight of blacks in what he considered a decadent Western society.
..... Click the link for more information. , who is said to have coined the term. Characteristic of négritude are a denunciation of Europe's devastation of Africa, a decrying of the coldness and stiffness of Western culture and its lack of the humane qualities found in African cultures, and an assertion of the glories and truths of African history, beliefs, and traditions.
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negritudea cultural and political movement started in the 1930s to encourage the development of pride and dignity in the heritage of black peoples by rediscovering ancient African values and modes of thought. The movement was originally concerned with an artistic and cultural critique of Western societies, but was broadened into a more political programme under the influence of Leopold Senghor (poet and president of Senegal). Negritude was an attempt to raise the consciousness of blacks throughout the world. Compare BLACK POWER MOVEMENT, EQUAL RIGHTS MOVEMENT, BLACK MUSLIMS, RASTAFARIAN.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000