Négritude By Benga, Ndiouga
The literary and cultural movement known as négritude was started in Paris in 1932 by Black students from French-speaking colonies in West Africa, the Caribbean and South America. The word ‘négritude’, which literally means ‘negro-ness’, expresses the value and depth of Black culture and history, as opposed to European, particularly French, culture. Its aesthetics drew from other Black-centric movements of the period, including the Harlem Renaissance in the United States. The most prominent authors associated with négritude were Léopold Sédar Senghor (1906–2001) from Senegal, Léon Damas (1912–1978) from French Guiana, Aimé Césaire from Martinique (1913–2008) and Birago Diop (1906–1989) from Senegal, who wrote literature and political treatises that influenced their contemporaries as well as many postcolonial writers. Some of the movement’s founding members, including Césaire and Senghor, held political office in their newly independent states in the post-World War II period.