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Senegal

Wheatley, Phillis (1754-1784)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Enslaved in Senegal [Gambia] at age eight and brought to America on a schooner called the Phillis (for which she was apparently named), was purchased by Susannah and John Wheatley, who soon recognized her intellect and facility with language.  Susannah Wheatley taught Phillis to read not only English but some Latin.  While yet in her teens, Phillis Wheatley became the first African American woman to publish a book of poetry, and the third woman in the American colonies to do so.  That book, Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, became controversial twice.
Sources: 
Henry Louis Gates, Jr., The Trials of Phillis Wheatley: America’s First Black Poet and Her Encounters with the Founding Fathers (New York: Basic Civitas Books, 2003); http://www.jmu.edu/madison/center/main_pages/madison_archives/era/african/free/wheatley/bio.htm.
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Brigham Young University

Dunham, Katherine (1909-2006)

Vignette Type: 
People
History Type: 
African American History
Image Courtesy of Jerome Robbins Dance Division,
The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts,
Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations.
Katherine Dunham was born on June 22, 1909 in Chicago, Illinois to parents Albert and Fanny Dunham.  She was of mixed heritage with African, Madagascan, Canadian-French and American Indian ancestry.  Dunham was raised in Joliet, Illinois and didn’t begin formal dance training until her late teens.  

In 1931, at the age of 22, Katherine Dunham opened her first dance school, with the help of her teacher Madame Ludmila Speranzeva.  The school, located in Chicago, soon became famous for its dancers who performed the modern dance ballet, “Negro Rhapsody.”  Dunham graduated from the University of Chicago in 1936 with a bachelor’s degree in social anthropology.  She later earned a master’s degree from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. from Northwestern University.  While an undergraduate, Dunham opened another school, the Negro Dance Group where in four years she trained 150 black youth.
Sources: 
Jessie Carney Smith, Epic Lives: One Hundred Black Women Who Made a Difference (Detroit: Visible Ink Press, 1993); http://www.pbs.org/wnet/freetodance/biographies/dunham.html
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Senghor, Léopold Sédar (1906-2001)

Entry Type: 
People
History Type: 
Global African History

 

Image Ownership: Public Domain

Scholar, African traditionalist poet, and Senegal’s first president, Léopold Sédar Senghor was born on October 9, 1906 in Joal, Senegal. His father, Basie Diogoye Senghor, was a Malinké landowner. His mother, Gnilane Bakhoum, came from a Christian Fulani family. They gave Senghor a European name to reflect both the noble Serer culture they identified with, as well as their Catholic faith. Senghor grew up with his father’s four wives and his twenty-four siblings.

At the age of seven, Senghor was sent to a Catholic mission school, where he first learned French. At 13, he decided to enter the Catholic priesthood. He attended Libermann seminary in Dakar but in 1926, dissuaded by the seminary, switched to the secondary school Lycée Van Vollenhoven. He graduated from high school with honors and his classical languages teacher persuaded the colonial administration to grant Senghor a scholarship to pursue literary studies in France.

Sources: 
Melvin Dixon, Léopold Sédar Senghor: The Collected Poetry, Trans. by Melvin Dixon (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1991); Kevin Shillington, ed., Encyclopedia of African History (New York: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2005).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
Evergreen State College

Vieira, Patrick (1976- )

Entry Type: 
People
History Type: 
Global African History

 

Image Ownership: Public Domain

Patrick Vieira, one of Europe’s leading soccer players, was born in the Cape Verdean community of Dakar, Senegal, on June 23, 1976.  He left Senegal at the age of 8 when his family moved to Europe and settled in Dreux, in northwest France.  Soon after their arrival the family became citizens of France.  

Vieira began his professional soccer career playing for several local youth clubs in France.  Then in 1993, at age 17, he joined AC Cannes Soccer Club.  The French club provided an atmosphere for the young 6 foot 4 center midfielder to advance.  After three seasons with AC Cannes, Vieira signed with AC Milan, one of the leading clubs in Italy.   Although he hoped to break through to the first team in the 1995-96 season, Vieira spent much of his time on the reserve squad.

In 1996, Vieira joined the Arsenal Soccer Club in London, England which was in the English Premier League (EPL).  He arrived a virtual unknown in England but under the new manager of Arsenal, Arsene Wenger, Patrick would fit perfectly into the English style of play by utilizing his height, strength, stamina, and physical nature.  His aggressive, physical play made Vieira one of the most feared players at the central midfield position in the world.  During the 1997-98 season, Vieira led the Arsenal squad to the EPL League title and the Football Association (FA) Challenge Cup, the championship for all English and Welsh soccer teams.  

Sources: 

Trevor Huggins, “Vieira out of crunch Italy clash,” Four Four Two Magazine, June 16, 2008; Patrick Vieira, “Vieira,” The Orion Publishing Group, November 2006.

Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington

Cheikh Anta Diop University (1957--)

Entry Type: 
Institutions
History Type: 
Global African History
Class at Cheikh Anta Diop University
Image Ownership: Public Domain

Cheikh Anta Diop University or Université Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD), located in Dakar, Senegal, is among the largest universities in French-speaking West Africa.

The UCAD has a relatively long history as it has evolved from the Ecole de Médecine de Dakar, a Medical School that was founded in 1918 by the French Colonial administration. A January 1918 decree led to the formation of the school mainly due to the need to train medical assistants to help colonial doctors. In 1936, the Institut Francais d’Afrique Noire (IFAN), a research center for African studies, was also created in Dakar.

In the 1950s, various schools of higher education were created in Dakar in connection with the University of Bordeaux, France.  These institutions and the Ecole de Médecine de Dakar were combined into the Institut des Hautes Etudes de Dakar (Dakar Institute of Higher Education) on February 24, 1957. Certificates in Physics, Chemistry and Biology were also provided as preparatory for the medical program.

Sources: 

http://www.ucad.sn/; Félix-Marie Affa’a and Thérèse Des Lierres, L’Afrique: Face à sa laborieuse appropriation de l’Université (Paris: L’Harmattan, 2002).

Affiliation: 
University of Nantes, France

Four Communes of Senegal (1887-1960)

Entry Type: 
Places
History Type: 
Global African History
Originaire in St. Louis, Senegal, ca. 1860
Image Ownership: Public Domain

The Four Communes of Senegal in French West Africa, Gorée, Dakar, Rufisque, and Saint-Louis, were the only places during the African Colonial period, where African inhabitants were granted the same rights as French Citizens.

As early as 1840, the importance of Gorée Island and Saint-Louis (located on an island of the Senegal River) as key French trading post settlements led to the establishment of a General Council in each colony. In 1848, the Second French Republic awarded to its Senegalese colonies the right to send an elected representative to the French National Assembly. Later in 1872, a decree granted to Gorée and Saint Louis the same advantages as French Communes.

Due to the intensification of trade activities in the city of Rufisque, situated on the Atlantic Coast, identical rights were granted to the settlement, which became a fully-empowered commune in 1880. Dakar, now the Senegalese capital, was the last settlement to be granted the rights in 1887.  It became the fourth Commune of Senegal.

Sources: 

“Senegal: Colonial Period: Four Communes: Dakar, Saint-Louis, Gorée and Rufisque,” in Encyclopedia of African History, Kevin Shillington, Ed., (New York: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2005); “Senegal: French Colony,” in Africana: the Encyclopedia of the African & African American Experience, Kwame Anthony Appiah, and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Eds., (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005); Mamadou Diouf, “The French Colonial Policy of Assimilation and the Civility of the Originaires of the Four Communes (Senegal): A Nineteenth Century Globalization Project,” Development and Change 29:4 (December 2002)

Affiliation: 
University of Nantes, France

Tirailleurs Sénégalais in the Indochina War (1947-1954)

Entry Type: 
Organizations
History Type: 
Global African History
Battle of Dien Bien Phu, 1954
Image Ownership: Public Domain
The Indochina War (1947-1954) pitted the French Colonial government against the Vietminh, the Communist Vietnamese devoted to the liberation of their country from French colonial rule.  During that conflict the French used thousands of Tirailleurs Sénégalais, soldiers recruited throughout the French African colonies, for service against the Vietminh.   

The French began recruiting Senegalese soldiers in 1947 as the war began and they found they urgently needed military forces in Indochina.  Considering French manpower shortages because of the recently ended Second World War, military budget restrictions, and the great number of African soldiers demobilized in 1945-6 at the end of the European conflict, the French government turned to the Tirailleurs Sénégalais: African soldiers who, since the 19th century, were often used due to their relatively low cost.
Sources: 
Eugène-Jean Duval, L’épopée des Tirailleurs Sénégalais (Paris: L’Harmattan, 2005); Martin Windrow, The last valley: Dien Bien Phu and the French Defeat in Vietnam (Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press, 2004).
Affiliation: 
University of Nantes, France

Mouride Sufi Brotherhood

Entry Type: 
Organizations
History Type: 
Global African History
Ahmadu Bamba,
Founder of Mouride Sufi Brotherhood
Image Ownership: Public Domain
The Mouride Sufi Brotherhood is a sect of Islam that boasts over four million followers today, mostly concentrated in Senegal and The Gambia.

The Mouride Sufi Order was founded by Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba in 1883 in the Senegambia region of West Africa.  At this period there was a great deal of social dislocation and economic hardship in this region because of the impact of colonialism.  Bamba thought that people needed to be more directly connected with Allah through hard work and prayer.  He also taught his pupils that they should be responsible for their behaviors, have a useful occupation, and should be self-reliant.  Originally the followers of the Mourides were youth, former slaves, and soldiers of the colonial administration or those from the Wolof ethnic group.   

The Mouride Brotherhood promotes pious adherence to the teachings and laws of the Quran.  Though education is encouraged, one is also able to connect with Allah through hard work.  If a follower is productive enough he is forgiven for not praying five times a day because his dedication to work is seen as a form of prayer.  The Mouride order is unique among Muslim Brotherhoods because its leaders inherited their positions as Sheikhs through bloodlines; through this women are allowed to become Sheikhs.  

Sources: 
Eric Ross, Sufi City: Urban Design and Archetypes in Touba  (Rochester, NY:  University of Rochester Press, 2006); Allen F. Roberts and Mary Nooter Roberts,  A Saint in the City: Sufi Arts of Urban Senegal  (Los Angeles:  UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History, 2003); Donal B. Cruise O’Brien and Christian Coulon, Charisma and Brotherhood in African Islam  (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1988); Martin A. Klein, Slavery and Colonial Rule in French West Africa  (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1998).
Contributor: 
Affiliation: 
University of Washington, Seattle

Ali, Ayaan Hirsi (1969- )

Entry Type: 
People
History Type: 
Global African History
Image Ownership: Public Domain
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Infidel (New York: Free Press, 2007); Ida Lichter, Muslim Women Reformers: Inspiring Voices Against Oppression (Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 2009); R. D. Grillo, The Family in Question: Immigrant and Ethnic Minorities in Multicultural Europe (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2008).
Contributor: 

Ba, Mariama (1929-1981)

Entry Type: 
People
History Type: 
Global African History
Image Ownership: Public Domain

Writer and political activist Mariama Ba was born in 1929 in Dakar, Senegal to a well-to-do family.  Her father worked in the French colonial administration and in 1956 became the Minister of Health of Senegal.  Her mother died when she was young.  Ba was raised by her maternal grandparents who emphasized conservative Muslim values.  She attended a religious school, but was also educated in the French tradition.  Due to the intervention of her father, she was enrolled in 1943 in the Ecole Normale (Teacher Training School) at Rufisque, a town some 25 miles away from Dakar where she received her diploma in 1947.  Ba worked as a teacher from 1947 to 1959, before becoming an academic inspector.  During this period, Ba had nine children with her husband, Obeye Diop.  The couple separated and Ba was forced to raise her children as a single parent. 

Sources: 
Laura Charlotte Kempen, Mariama Ba?, Rigoberta Menchu?, and Postcolonial Feminism. Currents in comparative Romance languages and literatures, vol. 97 (New York: P. Lang, 2001); Ada Uzoamaka Azodo, Emerging Perspectives on Mariama Ba?: Postcolonialism, Feminism, and Postmodernism (Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2003); Ire?ne Assiba d' Almeida, Francophone African Women Writers: Destroying the Emptiness of Silence (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1994).
Contributor: 
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