In the middle of the last century, the millenary path of the neighbouring continent directly connected with the effervescence of the then cultural capital of Europe, Paris. At that time, when the trends derived from the historical artistic avant-gardes, a succession nurtured by "isms" that led to Sartre's humanism and his reflections halfway between existence and essence, came together, the City of Light had become a melting pot forged by the dissidence not only of those European celebrities fleeing the totalitarian regimes of their countries, such as Picasso himself, but also of ethnic assets from the overseas colonies.
With them, a group of Africans grew up under the protection of the mark left by the liberation of thought and the exponents of plastic and literary creation: after Tzara's Dadaism or Breton's Surrealism, the ground was sown to accommodate any divisive proposal. It was there that Césaire and Senghor met to launch the vindication of negritude as a term for the dignity of the majority race in Africa through the newspaper "L'étudiant noir".
It was there that a good part of the intellectual aspirations of several generations who are still struggling today to shake off the persistent hindrances of Western colonisation and, incidentally, the trail of authoritarianism left by the metropolises in the hands of poorly educated uniformed men in their headlong flight towards other, more promising ventures, were cooked up.
It was there that an unknown number of young black men fought to organise the raison d'être of their national heritages in the face of the Eurocentric rhetoric that invariably left them at the mercy of the horses. In the midst of all this turmoil, one figure almost went unnoticed, another example to refute the terrible sambenito with which Westerners charge African communities with inanity.
The Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar is named after the historian, nuclear physicist and anthropologist who was the first to question the "whiteness" of the ancient Egypt of the pharaohs. Based on his laboratory tests and radiocarbon techniques, this literary scientist proved the opposite, that the great civilisation of northeast Africa was negroid, thus dismantling another of the great Western ethnocentric appropriations conveniently made up by Hollywood.
Subsequently, Diop had a long intellectual career in many international forums, but also a persistent political aspiration that led him to confront precisely the most emblematic president of his country, the poet, essayist and member of the French Academy, Léopold Sédar Senghor.