Writer and cultural leader
The Senegalese writer Alioune Diop played a major role in changing the way the French-speaking world viewed Africa. Born and educated in SENEGAL, Diop worked as a professor and represented the colony in the French Senate. In 1947 he started Presence africaine, which became the most influential French-language journal on Africa.
In Presence africaine, Diop tried to reshape the European image of Africa and to emphasize the continent's significance in world affairs. Diop was afraid that Africa was all but invisible when it came to world politics and that its people had become “disinherited” by other world leaders. His goal was to completely redefine the role of the African continent on the world stage. The journal consistently attacked colonialism without identifying itself with a particular philosophy or ideology. In addition to his writing and journalism, Diop was active in promoting African literature and art in the Societe Africaine de Culture he founded. He also played a major role in organizing the first and second International Congress of Black Writers and Artists (1956 and 1959), the first World Festival of Negro Arts (1966), and the Festival of Black and African Arts and Culture (1977). (See also Publishing.)