The Negritude Movement was one of the first literary and political movements that allowed black students in France to express themselves and to fight for their countries’ independence.
Created in the 1930’s by three black intellectuals (Leopold Sedar Senghor, Aime Cesaire and Leon Gontran Damas), the Negritude Movement was centered around black identity and was used to fight French colonialism that was affecting some parts of Africa and the Caribbean. When creating the movement, neither Leopold Senghor, who will later become Senegal’s first President, nor Aime Cesaire knew they would get political independence from France. They believed that the best way to win the fight against the French colonies was to use their black heritage. According to Senghor, Negritude was a way for black people in French colonies to be active in the process of emancipation of the colonies.
The creators of the movement were influenced by African American writers during the Harlem renaissance like Richard Wright and Langston Hughes who talked a lot about black people’s right to full American citizenship and racism. The movement included many writings such as books, poems and revues. For instance, some French students created reviews and journals in which they expressed their ideas and discussed their problems. In 1931, “La revue du monde noir” (the Black world’s review) was the first review ( or journal) opened to black people from the entire world to express themselves and talk about specific problems.
Among the numerous reviews they created, Legitime Defense was the most important one. The goal of that review was to propose a new style of black literature. The review was also a way to reject “white” institutions such as Christianity and capitalism. Another review that was very important to the movement was “L’etudiant noir” (the black student) 1934-1940 which was written by African and Caribbean students along with Senghor, Cesaire and Damas. The goal of that revue was to get black people closer to their culture, their languages and their traditions.