Discuss the background and setting of the poem "Black Woman."

The background of the poem "Black Woman" by Léopold Senghor is the Négritude movement of the 1930s and 1940s, and the setting of the poem is the African continent.

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In the poem "Black Woman," Senghor celebrates the beauty of the African continent. He does this by personifying Africa as a beautiful Black woman. The speaker says that the beauty of Africa "strikes [him] to the heart like the flash of an eagle." This personified form of Africa is also presented as a maternal figure. The speaker, addressing Africa directly, says, "In your shadow I have grown up." He also describes the "gentleness of [her] hands" and her "solemn contralto voice." The personification of Africa as a beautiful and maternal woman implies that Africa as a setting is likewise beautiful, welcoming, and familiar.

Léopold Senghor was a key proponent of the Négritude movement. This movement began in the 1930s and endeavored to challenge and reverse the typically racist and reductive stereotypes of Black people that were so widespread. Black people at this time, in America and across much of Europe, were stereotypically presented as animalistic, predatory, criminal, and generally immoral. Blackness was equated with ugliness and imperfection.

The writers and artists of the Négritude movement wanted Black people to be proud of the color of their skin and to celebrate Blackness as beautiful. They wanted to challenge the aforementioned stereotypes with portrayals of Black people who were strong, proud, independent, intelligent, and beautiful. In Senghor's "Black Woman," Africa is personified as proud, beautiful, and strong, and the implication is that all people from Africa are, or should likewise be, therefore, proud, beautiful, and strong.

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