Portrait of Leopold Sédar Senghor
Lois Mailou Jones (American, 1905 – 1998)
DimensionsImage : 16 1/8 x 10 1/4 in. (40.96 x 26.04 cm)
Sheet : 20 3/4 x 16 5/8 in. (52.71 x 42.23 cm)
Credit LinePurchased with funds donated by Judith Kingma Hazelton ‘56
LabelLeopold Sédar Senghor (1906-2001) was a Senegalese politician, poet and cultural theorist. He was elected as the first president of Senegal after it gained independence from France in 1960 and served in that position until 1980. In the 1930s and 40s, Senghor played a leading role in developing the cultural theory of Négritude, which affirmed the intrinsic value and global importance of African and African-diaspora cultures around the world. The ideas advanced by Négritude theorists like Senghor helped fuel numerous anti-colonial independence movements within Africa during the 1950s and 60s, and were also influential in the American Civil Rights movement at the same time. This portrait of Senghor was created by Lois Mailou Jones, an African American artist from Boston who taught at Howard University in Washington, DC from 1930 to 1977. During the 1930s, Jones spent many summer and holiday vacations in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood, where she became a fixture in the cultural world of the Harlem Renaissance. Jones was a longtime admirer of Senghor and created this print to celebrate a special edition of his poetry that was published in 1996.