Damas, Léon-Gontran, 1912-1978

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Born in Cayenne, French Guiana, in 1912, Léon-Gontran Damas was a poet, journalist, educator and statesman who co-founded the Négritude literary movement in the 1930's with the Matinique born poet Aimé Césaire and the Senegalese author and statesman Léopold Sédar Senghor. Damas studied modern oriental languages, literature, history and ethnology, and began his career in journalism and literature in Paris in the 1930's. His first volume of poems, Pigments, appeared in 1937. He served briefly in the French army during the Second World War, and joined the French Resistance after his demobilization. Elected representative of Guiana to the French Parliament after the war, he was appointed to the High Court of Justice and served as Rapporteur of a parliamentary commission to the Ivory Coast in 1949. During the 1950's and 1960's, he lectured and traveled extensively in the Caribbean and Latin America, where he studied the influence of African culture in the New World. Appointed Distinguished Visiting Professor at Howard University in 1970, he lectured extensively at colleges and universities throughout the United States and Canada until his death in 1978.

From the guide to the The Leon Gontran Damas Sound Recording Collection [sound recording], (The New York Public Library. Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound.)

Born in Cayenne, French Guiana, in 1912, Léon-Gontran Damas was a poet, journalist, educator and statesman who co-founded the Négritude literary movement in the 1930s with the Matinique born poet Aimé Césaire and the Senegalese author and statesman Léopold Sédar Senghor.

Damas studied modern oriental languages, literature, history and ethnology, and began his career in journalism and literature in Paris in the 1930s. His first volume of poems, Pigments, appeared in 1937. He served briefly in the French army during the Second World War, and joined the French Resistance after his demobilization. Elected representative of Guiana to the French Parliament after the war, he was appointed to the High Court of Justice and served as Rapporteur of a parliamentary commission to the Ivory Coast in 1949. During the 1950s and 1960s, he lectured and traveled extensively in the Caribbean and Latin America, where he studied the influence of African culture in the New World. Appointed Distinguished Visiting Professor at Howard University in 1970, he lectured extensively at colleges and universities throughout the United States and Canada until his death in 1978.

Damas's other works include: Retour de Guyane (1938), Veilleés Noires (1944), Poèmes Nègres sur des Airs Africains (1947), Graffiti (1952), Black Label (1956) and Névralgies (1966). He also edited two volumes of poetry: Poètes Noirs d'Expression Française (1947) and Nouvelle Somme de Poésie du Monde Noir (1966). His work has been translated in English, German, Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese and Russian. He was awarded the Prix Caraib̤es in 1970. He died in Washington, D.C. in 1978.

From the description of Léon-Gontran Damas papers, 1949-1978. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122571003

Born in Cayenne, French Guiana, in 1912, Léon-Gontran Damas was a poet, journalist, educator and statesman who co-founded the Négritude literary movement in the 1930s with the Matinique born poet Aimé Césaire and the Senegalese author and statesman Léopold Sédar Senghor. Damas studied modern oriental languages, literature, history and ethnology, and began his career in journalism and literature in Paris in the 1930s. His first volume of poems, Pigments, appeared in 1937. He served briefly in the French army during the Second World War, and joined the French Resistance after his demobilization. Elected representative of Guiana to the French Parliament after the war, he was appointed to the High Court of Justice and served as Rapporteur of a parliamentary commission to the Ivory Coast in 1949. During the 1950s and 1960s, he lectured and traveled extensively in the Caribbean and Latin America, where he studied the influence of African culture in the New World. Appointed Distinguished Visiting Professor at Howard University in 1970, he lectured extensively at colleges and universities throughout the United States and Canada until his death in 1978.

Damas's other works include: Retour de Guyane (1938), Veilleés Noires (1944), Poèmes Nègres sur des Airs Africains (1947), Graffiti (1952), Black Label (1956) and Névralgies (1966). He also edited two volumes of poetry: Poètes Noirs d'Expression Française (1947) and Nouvelle Somme de Poésie du Monde Noir (1966). His work has been translated in English, German, Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese and Russian. He was awarded the Prix Carai̤bes in 1970. He died in Washington, D.C. in 1978.

From the guide to the Léon-Gontran Damas papers, 1949-1978, (The New York Public Library. Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Schaffer, Matt. Matt Schaffer collection, 1969-1992 (bulk 1969-1970). Emory University Library, Special Collect Department
referencedIn Boyadjian, Hayg, 1938-. Hoquet / music, Hayg Boyadjian ; words, Léon Damas. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Damas, Léon-Gontran, 1912-1978. Léon-Gontran Damas papers, 1949-1978. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf The Leon Gontran Damas Sound Recording Collection [sound recording] The New York Public Library. Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound.
creatorOf Léon-Gontran Damas papers, 1949-1978 The New York Public Library. Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division.
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Anyanwu, K. C. (K. Chukwulozie) person
associatedWith Ashanti, B. J. (Baron James) person
associatedWith Atly, Lionel person
associatedWith Atly, Lionel. person
associatedWith Baghio'o, Jean-Louis, 1910- person
associatedWith Bambara, Toni Cade. person
associatedWith Botchway, Francis A person
associatedWith Botchway, Francis A. person
associatedWith Boyadjian, Hayg, 1938- person
associatedWith Brachfeld, George person
associatedWith Brachfeld, George. person
associatedWith Brown, Sterling Allen, 1901-1989 person
associatedWith Candiff, Julien person
associatedWith Candiff, Julien. person
associatedWith Césaire, Aimé person
associatedWith Césaire, Aimé person
associatedWith Césaire, Aimé person
associatedWith Colloque culture et developpement (1976 : Dakar) corporateBody
associatedWith Colloque culture et developpement, Dakar, 1976. corporateBody
associatedWith Cortez, Jayne person
associatedWith Dadié, Bernard Binlin, 1916- person
associatedWith Dodson, Owen, 1914-1983. person
associatedWith Dogbeh-David, Richard. person
associatedWith Dorsinville, Roger. person
associatedWith Du Prey, Pierre person
associatedWith Du Prey, Pierre. person
associatedWith Fall, Kiné Kirama. person
associatedWith Gauthier, Monique, 1950- person
associatedWith Hazoumé, Paul. person
associatedWith Hazoumé, Paul person
associatedWith Hodge, Merle, 1944- person
associatedWith John, Gisele person
associatedWith John, Gisele. person
associatedWith Juminer, Berténe. person
associatedWith Juminer, Bertène person
associatedWith Kanié, Anoma. person
associatedWith Kanié, Anoma person
associatedWith Kuoh-Moukoury, Manga person
associatedWith Kuoh-Moukoury, Manga. person
associatedWith Léopold Sédar Senghor Foundation. corporateBody
associatedWith Léro, Etienne. person
associatedWith Léro, Etienne person
associatedWith Ligny, Michel. person
associatedWith Lomami-Tshibamba, Paul, 1914-1985 person
associatedWith Malonga, Jean. person
associatedWith Miatlev, Adrian, 1910-1964. person
associatedWith Morisseau-Leroy, Félix, 1912- person
associatedWith Morisseau-Leroy, Félix, 1912- person
associatedWith Nascimento, Abdias do, 1914-2011. person
associatedWith Nnolim, Charles E. person
associatedWith Pedroso, Regino, 1898- person
associatedWith Phillips, Lucie Colvin, 1943- person
associatedWith Picott, J. Rupert. person
associatedWith Pobbi-Asamani, Kwadwo O person
associatedWith Pobbi-Asamani, Kwadwo O. person
associatedWith Poller, Nidra person
associatedWith Poller, Nidra. person
associatedWith Rey, Edmonde person
associatedWith Rey, Edmonde. person
associatedWith Rigaud, Milo, 1904- person
associatedWith Rouil, Marie-Thérèse. person
associatedWith Rouil, Marie-Thérèse person
associatedWith Schaffer, Matt. person
associatedWith Senghor, Léopold Sédar, 1906-2001 person
associatedWith Sibide, Mamby person
associatedWith Sibide, Mamby. person
associatedWith Stephenson, Elie, 1944- person
associatedWith Thomas, Clive Yolande. person
associatedWith Tirolien, Guy person
associatedWith Troupe, Quincy. person
associatedWith Warner, Keith Q person
associatedWith Warner, Keith Q. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
French Guiana
West Indies, French
French Guiana
Haiti
French Guiana
Subject
Authors, Senegalese--20th century
Brazilian poetry--History and criticism
Statesmen
Race awareness in literature
Blacks--France--Social life and customs
French poetry--Black authors
Teachers, Black--United States
Blacks in literature
Creole dialects, French--Texts
French poetry--Black authors--Translations into English
Creole dialects, French--Haiti--Texts
Negritude (Literary movement)
Caribbean literature (French)--History and criticism
Poets, Guadeloupe--20th century
African literature (French)--Studies and teaching--United States
Black author
Blacks--Race identity
French poetry--Black authors--Translation into English
Authors and publishers
Latin American literature--History and criticism
Authors, Martinican--20th century
African Americans--Intellectual life--20th century
Literature--Black authors--History and criticism
Poets, French Guianese
Poets, Black--France
Blacks--Race identity--West Indies, French
African literature (French)--Studies and teaching
Blacks--West Indies, French--Race identity
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1912-03-28

Death 1978-01-22

French

English,

French,

Portuguese

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SNAC ID: 3806726