Diop started writing poems while he was still in school, and his poems started appearing in Présence Africaine since he was just 15. Diop lived his life transitioning constantly between France and West Africa, from childhood onwards. While in Paris, Diop became a prominent figure in Négritude literature. His work is seen as a condemnation of colonialism, and detest towards colonial rule. Like many Négritude authors of the time, Diop hoped for an independent Africa. Within the movement he was recognized as "the voice of the people without voice".
He died in the crash of Air France Flight 343 in the Atlantic Ocean off Dakar, Senegal, at the age of 33 on 29 August 1960. His one small collection of poetry, Coups de pilon, came out from Présence Africaine in 1956; it was posthumously published in English as Hammer Blows, translated and edited by Simon Mondo and Frank Jones (African Writers Series, 1975).
- "David Diop". Encyclopædia Britannica.
- "Biografski dodaci" [Biographic appendices]. Republika: Časopis za kulturu i društvena pitanja (Izbor iz novije afričke književnosti) (in Serbo-Croatian). Zagreb, SR Croatia. XXXIV (12): 1424–1427. December 1978.
- "David Diop, France (1927-1960)". University of Florida. Archived from the original on 7 January 2011.
- Blair 1976, p. 158
- planecrashinfo.com Famous People Who Died in Aviation Accidents: 1960s