• Léopold Sédar Senghor
Léopold Sédar Senghor

Léopold Sédar Senghor died on December 20, 2001 at the age of 95.  He was both a poet and the first president of his native Senegal following independence in 1960. Although he was famed as a political figure and was the first African leader to surrender power voluntarily, he said he would prefer to be remembered as a poet. Senghor was one of the founders of the Négritude movement (he coined the word) and influential in creating a climate of pride in African ancestry.