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Related: Harlem Renaissance - black pride - Jazz Age - Aimé Césaire

"The New Negro Has No Fear." Supporters of Marcus Garvey parade in Harlem during a 1920 U.N.I.A. convention.
Image sourced here.

Harlem, Mecca of the New Negro (March 1925)
Image sourced here.


Négritude, a concept developed in the 1930s by a group that included future Senegalese President Léopold Sédar Senghor and Francophone poet Aimé Césaire, is the belief that one should identify one's blackness without reference to one's homeland, native language, religion or spatial/geographical location. It was designed to help all those with black heritage to celebrate their blackness without confining this celebration to a single nation, geographical location or cultural group. Definitions of this concept have varied as have those who have embraced it. American Langston Hughes was one of the first Americans to adhere to the concept of négritude, and in his poetry and short stories, the feeling of blackness is everpresent. He argued that those people who didn't want to be black, who were ashamed of their heritage, were no better than racists. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N%E9gritude [May 2005]

Article by Nick Nesbitt

Neologism coined by Martinican poet and statesman Aime Cesaire in Paris in the 1930s in discussions with fellow students Leopold Sedar Senghor and Leon Gontran-Damas.

The concept of Negritude represents a historic development in the formulation of African diasporic identity and culture in this century. The term marks a revalorization of Africa on the part of New World blacks, affirming an overwhelming pride in black heritage and culture, and asserting, in Marcus Garvey's words, that blacks are "descendants of the greatest and proudest race who ever peopled the earth." The concept finds its roots in the thought of Martin Delany, William Blyden, and W. E. B. Du Bois, each of whom sought to erase the stigma attached to the black world through their intellectual and political efforts on behalf of the African diaspora. Early in this century, French Caribbean politicians such as Hegesippe Legitimus, Rene Boisneuf, and Gratien Candace affirmed the right and necessity of blacks to enter into the global community as equals, while historians such as Oruno Lara strove to "edify a more beautiful past, drawing upon our heritage of sacrifice and probity." The inspiration for Cesaire's term comes most directly, however, from the example of the Harlem Renaissance, in which writers such as Langston Hughes and Claude McKay explored and revindicated the richness of black culture. Senghor himself has referred to McKay as the "the true inventor of [the values of] Negritude....Far from seeing in one's blackness an inferiority, one accepts it, one lays claim to it with pride, one cultivates it lovingly." Like the evolution of the term "black" in the United States, Negritude took a stigmatized term and turned it into a point of pride.-- Nick Nesbitt via http://www.geocities.com/africanwriters/origins.html [Mar 2006]

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