Senegalese poet and humanist Léopold Sédar Senghor (1906–2001) played a key role in the development of a black African sense of identity. One of the pioneers of the Négritude movement, along with Aimé Césaire, he was the first president of Senegal, a position he held from 1960 to 1980. His writing contributed to lending African poetry a universal quality rooted in spirituality. His poetry, often symbolist, is inspired by rhythmic incantations. The first African to be elected to the Académie française, Senghor wrote poetry that conveyed his desire for a universal civilization that would unite traditions, set aside differences, and embrace cultural mixing.

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