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10 Things To Know About Africana Studies Scholar Cheikh Anta Diop

10 Things To Know About Africana Studies Scholar Cheikh Anta Diop

Cheikh Anta Diop
Senegalese historian, anthropologist, politician and physicist Cheikh Anta Diop is considered one of the greatest African historians of the 20th century. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is greeted by attendees after speaking at the University of Cheikh Anta Diop — named after the great Senegalese historian — in Dakar, Senegal, Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2012. Image: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool

Cheikh Anta Diop, who was born in 1923 and died in 1986, was a Senegalese historian, anthropologist, politician and physicist who studied the human race’s origins and pre-colonial African culture.

Diop is considered to be one of the greatest African historians of the 20th century.

Here are 10 things to know about him.

 Cheikh Anta Diop
Cheikh Anta Diop. Photo: Facebook,
Diopian Institute for Scholarly Advancement

He was born into a rich Muslim family

Diop was born into an aristocratic Muslim family and educated in Muslim schools. Due to his family’s wealth, Diop received the best education.

He moved to Paris when he was 23

He moved to Paris to study at The Sorbonne which was the most famous university in Paris. He got a degree in philosophy, maths, and chemistry.

In 1951, his doctorate thesis was rejected

Diop’s thesis based on the idea that ancient Egypt had been a Black culture was rejected by the University of Paris.


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His thesis was published in 1955

After his thesis was rejected, Diop added more evidence to his work and in 1955 it was published as a book called “Black Nations and Culture”.

He earned his doctorate degree in 1960

After successfully defending his thesis, Diop earned his doctorate degree in 1960. In the same year, he published the book “Black Africa: The Economic and Cultural Basis for a Federated State“.

He returned to Senegal in 1960

Diop returned to Senegal in 1960 where he continued writing and researching. A radiocarbon lab was established by the University of Dakar to assist in his research. He also began a life-long struggle to reunite Africa and promote African culture.

Diop got into politics while in Senegal

Diop began his political journey in Senegal by creating the opposition party Le Bloc des Masses Sénégalaises. He was imprisoned at least twice because his views were contrary to the norm.

In 1966 he received an award

At the First Black Arts Festival, Diop received an award for being the author who most influenced African Thought in the 20th century.

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Diop participated in a UNESCO symposium

In 1974, Diop wrote the chapter on the origin of Egyptians in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s “General History of Africa” and presented his theories to other specialists in Egyptology.

He had a global influence

Diop’s main goal was to repair the damage that years of colonization had done to Africans. His ideas extended to the U.S. where Black people were struggling with being regarded as second-class citizens and the effects of slavery. Diop’s work continues to inspire people everywhere, contributing to the progress of mankind.