Léopold Sédar Senghor

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The first President of the Republic of Senegal was Leopold Sedar Senghor. Leopold had to fight for his place in a crowded household of an affluent and well-connected family. He was sent to a famous boarding school at an early age. He became interested in religion at an early age and began reading and writing French poetry and literature. He moved to France after finishing high school. He completed his secondary schooling and began teaching at two top-ranked schools at the same time, despite numerous hurdles. When a foreign power attacked Senghor’s new homeland, his career was cut short. He began to form a cultural identity and more favorable views of the social achievements of his continent. Senghor then tried his hand at politics and quickly rose to prominence. Senghor was chosen president of his country after it gained independence. He used his education and tenacity to modernize his country while wielding a strong hand against his opponents. After decades in politics, this great politician quit and dedicated his final years to a distinguished literary career. He was recognized and admired throughout the French literary world for his contributions to the beautiful arts, and acclaimed in his birthplace for the leadership he bestowed on his people when he died quietly in his bed at an advanced age.

Childhood and Adolescence

Leopold Sedar Senghor was born in Joal, French West Africa, on October 9, 1906. Basile Diogoye Senghor, a trader and member of the wealthy Serer family, was his father. Aniline Ndieme Bakhou, Leopold’s mother, was his father’s third wife. He was raised in a huge family.

In 1913, Leopold was accepted into a boarding school sponsored by the ‘Fathers of the Holy Spirit.’ He temporarily attended a seminary in Dakar after graduating from high school. He transferred to a secular university and began studying French literature and mathematics in earnest.

Senghor boarded a ship and traveled to France in 1928. He then went to the Sorbonne in Paris to study.
He dropped out of school shortly after that. He then began attending a preparation course in the hopes of being accepted into an exclusive school. He did, however, flunk the entrance exam.
He successfully got French citizenship in 1932.

Leopold Sedar’s Career

He graduated from the ‘University of Paris in 1935. After that, he was hired as a professor. For the next ten years, he taught at two schools, one in Paris and the other in Tours.

Senghor invented the concept of ‘negritude’ during this time, which is his most enduring contribution to history. Negritude was a mental state in which racial epithets were transformed into celebrations of African culture and identity.

He was taken prisoner in 1940 while serving in a war during the German invasion of France. He was sent to a special prisoner of war camp in Poitiers for African-American soldiers.

He was freed by the Nazis in 1942. He returned to his position as a professor at a prestigious school near Paris right away. He continued to back the resistance as well.

In 1945, he was named Dean of a famous French school’s Linguistics Department. For the following 15 years, he would be in this role.

He created the political party ‘Bloc democratique senegalais’ (BDS) in 1948. It immediately became well-known.
The BDS did well in the elections of 1951. He was elected to the French parliament as a special deputy, a position he kept for the next five years.

From 1956 until 1961, he held a number of important positions in Prime Minister Michel Debre’s administration. Senghor was the mayor of Thies during the time, and he was also a member of the committee that drafted the constitution of the Fifth Republic (France).

Leopold was elected as the first President of the newly independent Republic of Senegal on September 5, 1960. The Senegalese national anthem, which is still in use today, was written by this political leader.

In 1962, the President detained Mamadou Dia, a former ally and then-prime minister, on charges of inciting a revolution. Dia would be imprisoned for the next 12 years.
Senghor’s debut novel, ‘Liberte,’ was published in 1964. The first in a series of five books, the volume features a combination of speeches, criticism, and articles.

He was nearly assassinated on March 22, 1967, while preaching. He was fortunate to make it out alive.
He announced his resignation from the presidency in December 1980, effective at the end of the year. Despite the fact that his tenure in office had not yet ended, he was elected.

He became the first person of African descent to be inducted into the French Academy on June 2, 1983. People of his homeland were ecstatic about this.
Senghor released the fifth volume of his ‘Liberte’ series in 1993. It was really much appreciated.

Major Projects of Léopold Sédar Senghor

From September 6, 1960, to December 31, 1980, Leopold Sedar Senghor served as President of Senegal. In an endeavor to modernize his country, he implemented several socially progressive initiatives throughout his leadership. He also collaborated with neighbors to develop a sense of “negritude,” or pride in being African.

Achievements and Awards

During his lifetime, Senghor was awarded two war medals, 37 honorary doctorates, a commemorative medal, the ‘Collar of the Order of Isabella the Catholic’ of Spain, and a slew of other prizes and distinctions.

Personal History and Legacy

In 1946, this prominent politician married Ginette Eboue. In 1957, he married Colette Hubert Senghor, his second wife. He had a large family and was a faithful Roman Catholic all of his life.

Senghor died of natural causes in Version, France, on December 20, 2001.
Senghor is well-known for his contributions to French and Senegalese poetry and literature. With his negritude worldview, he has had an impact on post-colonial consciousness.

This prominent politician’s airport in Dakar, Senegal’s capital, is named for him. He has a street named after him in Paris, France.

Sedar, Senghor’s “middle name,” signifies “a guy who cannot be humiliated.” Senghor’s surname also has a spiritual connotation.
According to rumors, Senghor left his presidency due to an unfavorable horoscope reading.

Estimated Net worth

Leopold is one of the wealthiest politicians and one of the most well-known. According to Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider, Leopold Sedar Senghor has a net worth of $1.5 million.