Introduction / History The Senegalese of West Africa emigrated in large numbers to the United States in the twentieth century. Many went to New York and the Wolof among them. There are many Senegalese in Harlem in the region of 116th. Street between St. Nicholas and 8th. Avenues. Some are volunteer interpreters at Harlem Hospital. The Wolof language is used in the region and in Senegalese restaurants for example. Many Senegalese are shop owners and have travel agencies. Wolof speakers have mixed well in American society while keeping their own language. Retaining their own language helps keep unity with them.
Where are they located? There is said to be about thirty thousand Wolof who have come to live in New York. Many are vendors on the Manhattan streets and are working to fund one of the largest mosques in West Africa. They get blessings from their spiritual leader and they hope God will favor them as a result.
What are their lives like? There are three Senegalese radio stations among them and the radio presenters often speak in Wolof.
The Wolof are dependent on the community in New York but they are no longer saturated in folk Islam that is in their African countries of origin. The Wolof in New York could be more receptive to the gospel message. In the United States they live in crowded apartments paying no rent for the first few months.
What are their beliefs? They follow Islam. Missionaries who have lived amongst the Wolof have found it difficult to evangelize them. One reason is that it is hard for them to leave the community and be self-reliant. (The need for Christians to show them true friendship here).
What are their needs? Missionaries in West Africa believe that there is much potential for giving the gospel message to the Wolof in New York but need the help of New York churches. Immigrants could be very effective in giving the gospel message to their families in West Africa.
New York churches when combined with missionaries from abroad could help bring many of the Wolof to Jesus Christ and also help in bringing salvation to the city of New York.
Prayer Points Pray that the Wolof immigrants in the U.S.A. will come to salvation and help bring their African families to Jesus Christ also.