Democracy Now, Thursday June 6, 2013
Democracy Now: “Just days before the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Medgar Evers in Jackson, Mississippi, the city’s voters have elected longtime black nationalist organizer and attorney Chokwe Lumumba to become mayor. Describing himself as a “Fannie Lou Hamer Democrat,” Lumumba surprised many political observers by winning the Democratic primary, despite being outspent five to one. He went on to easily win this week’s general election.
“Over the past four decades Lumumba has been deeply involved in numerous political and legal campaigns. As an attorney, his clients have included former Black Panther Assata Shakur and the late hip hop artist Tupac Shakur. As a political organizer, Lumumba served for years as vice-president of the Republic of New Afrika, an organization which advocated for ‘an independent predominantly black government’ in the southeastern United States and reparations for slavery. He also helped found the National Black Human Rights Coalition and the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement. ‘People should take a note of Jackson, because we have suffered some of the worst kinds of abuses in history,’ Lumumba says. ‘But we’re about to make some advances and some strides in the development of human rights and the protection of human rights that I think have not been seen in other parts of the country.'”
[Next, two different news articles, below, describing Chokwe Lumumba’s victory in the Jackson, Miss. mayoralty election–as a continuation of human rights activism (first article), and as a victory for adopting “mainstream” politics (second article). Lumumba, and his grassroots activist supporters, will undoubtedly clarify, in the weeks ahead, the (tactical or strategic) programmatic significance of this hard-fought struggle for this administrative and political platform. But, for an important background on the organizing perspective of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, see The Jackson Plan at
http://mxgm.org/the-jackson-plan-a-struggle-for-self-determination-participatory-democracy-and-economic-justice/ — Frontlines ed.]
6 June 2013
By Kirsten West Savali/News One
Chokwe Lumumba, 65, former Ward 2 councilman, is the new mayor of Jackson, Miss. He won the general election with 87 percent of the vote
“I’m just delighted. I feel wonderfully well about the people and their vote,” Lumumba said. “Our slogan has been the people must decide and the people gave us an outstanding mandate today for positive change in the city of Jackson. We intend to work diligently and put all our hearts and efforts into that and we’re going to be calling upon the people to work with us. We’re not working by ourselves.”
As previously reported by News One, Lumumba served four years on the Jackson City Council before running for mayor. He spent part of the ’70s and ’80s as vice-president of the Republic of New Afrika, an organization which advocated for “an independent predominantly black government” in the southeastern United States and reparations for slavery.
“The provisional government of Republic of New Afrika was always a group that believed in human rights for human beings,” Lumumba told the Associated Press in a recent interview. “I think it has been miscast in many ways. It has never been any kind of racist group or ‘hate white’ group in any way…. It was a group which was fighting for human rights for black people in this country and at the same time supporting the human rights around the globe.”
As an attorney, Lumumba has represented legendary activist, poet, actor and Hip-Hop artist Tupac Shakur in several cases, and his godmother, Assata Shakur, whom Lumumba calls a “Black Panther heroine.”
Assata, formerly Joanne Chesimard, was a member of the Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army. She sought political asylum in Cuba after being accused of killing New Jersey state trooper, Werner Foerster, in 1977, and recently became the first woman placed on the FBI’s “Most Wanted Terrorists” list. Medical evidence proved that it was “anatomically impossible” for Assata to kill Foerster after being shot by state trooper, James Harper, and forensic evidence proved that she had not fired a weapon. Even with that knowledge, the FBI recently raised the bounty on her head from $1 million to $2 million dollars.
Lumumba campaign flyer
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi attorney and one-time civil rights activist who was involved in a black nationalist group decades ago has been elected mayor of Jackson, the state capital.
The Clarion-Ledger reported late Tuesday that Jackson City Councilman Chokwe Lumumba (SHOW-kway Lu-MOOM-bah) was elected mayor, receiving about 85 percent of the vote against three independent candidates.
He will succeed Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr., who finished third in this year’s Democratic primary.
Lumumba ran as a mainstream candidate who would represent all city voters. He defeated businessman Jonathan Lee in the Democratic primary runoff last month.
He wrote on Facebook Tuesday night, “Thank you, Jackson. None of this would be possible without faith and your support.”
He went on to say, “This is the people’s victory. Together we will make Jackson rise!”
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.