The symbol of the mask comes from Senghor's poems "Prayer to the Masks" and "Black Mask". The mask he refers to in the poem is an actual West African stylized mask. In the poem the mask represents the permanence of the past in the present. This representation is achieved through Senghor's choice to elevate the mask outside of a particular time. The mask becomes a figure that is carried on throughout eternity which corresponds with the idea presented in negritude that the past will be key in making a culture for the future.