When: 1948

Where: Paris, France.

Jean-Paul Sartre’s Black Orpheus was a pivotal addition to Negritude intellectual thought. Black Orpheus acknowledged that Negritude was fundamentally a Black poetic appropriation of the French language. In this way, using the language of the oppressors to articulate the beauty of Blackness was in itself a rebellion against the French. Negritude, through Sartre’s analysis, was revolutionary in its reminder of the proletariat being the revolutionaries in history. Black Orpheus also further popularized other Negritude writers like Senghor, Damas and Cesaire.

Further Reading:

Beier, Ulli. Introduction to African Literature; an anthology of critical writing from Black Orpheus. Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1967.

Bradshaw, Peter. “Why Obama is wrong about Black Orpheus.” The Guardian, Feb 2, 2009.

Corbett, Edward M. The French Presence in Black Africa. Washington: Black Orpheus Press, 1972.

Pease, Donald E. “Black Orpheus, Barack Obama’s Governmentality.” Altre Modernita 2(2011): 1-28.

Sartre, Jean-Paul. Black Orpheus. Paris: Presence Africaine, 1960.

Simawe, Saadi. Black Orpheus Music in African American fiction from the Harlem Renaissance to Toni Morrison. New York: Garland Publishing, 2000.