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Blaise-Diagne

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Blaise Diagne was a Senegalese politician, the mayor of Dakar (1920-34), and the first black African elected to the French National Assembly (1914-34).
Blaise Diagne  © Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Blaise Diagne, the first black African elected to the French Parliament where he represented Senegal (1914-34)

© Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Date of Birth: 13 October 1872, Gorée, Senegal
Date of Death: 11 May 1934

Blaise Diagne was born in Gorée, Afrique Occidentale Française (French West Africa now Republic of Senegal), to a Serer (third largest ethnic group in Senegal) Father and Manjack mother (from Guinea-Bissau). He studied in France and joined the French customs service in the early 1890s. He was elected to the French National Assembly in 1914 as the Senegal representative, and served until his death in 1934.

In 1916 he was instrumental in gaining full French citizenship for residents of four towns in Senegal: Dakar, Gorée, Saint-Louis, and Rufisque. From 1918 to 1920 he was Commissioner General for the French Ministry of Colonies, and from 1931 to 1932 he was Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies, a junior cabinet post.

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