Will Mayor Chokwe Lumumba mean a new era for Jackson, Mississippi, and beyond?



AfrobeatRadio broadcast on WBAI-N.Y.C. 06.22.2013:  Mayor Chokwe Lumumba's upset victory in this year's Jackson mayoral election has given hope to peace and justice activists in the U.S. and beyonds its borders. AfrobeatRadio spoke to Chokwe Lumumba, a human rights lawyer and lifelong Black liberation activist, in 2012, when he was still a Jackson City Councilman and mayoral candidate. After his June 4th election, we spoke to Jackson activist, writer, and scholar Tom Head and revisited some of what Chokwe Lumumba, the candidate, had told us the year before, about his plans for building economic democracy in Jackson.


Mayor Chokwe Lumumba and his Transition Executive Committee. Mayor Lumumba's office said that the Transition Executive Committee will be looking at and helping Mayor Lumumba determine what the strengths and weaknesses are in the municipal government. It will also serve in an advisory capacity and offer recommendations that will be made public in a transition report.

Jackson, Mississippi radicals in opposite directions: Mayor Chokwe Lumumba and Governor Phil Bryant


KPFA Evening News, 06.23.2013

Jackson, Mississippi native, author, and activist Tom Head Chokwe Lumumba and Phil Bryant live in the same predominantly Black town: Jackson, Mississippi. Chokwe Lumumba is Jackson's Black Mayor-elect, soon to be inaugurated, on July 1st, and he has a plan to use political democracy to build economic democracy. The plan includes organic community gardening, encouraging cooperative work, and serious enforcement of minority contracting and local hiring requirements, not only in public construction but also in private building projects that seek the city's assistance.

Phil Bryant is Mississippi's white governor, also resident in Jackson, the state capital. Mississippi scholar, author, and activist Tom Head told KPFA that Phil Bryant is "radical in the opposite direction," and that he has "made no secret of the fact that he hates Jackson," and "has regularly joked about wanting to wheel the capital out to Rankin County, which is predominantly white."

Tom Head also spoke to KPFA about the resistance Chokwe Lumumba and his grassroots organizing community will no doubt encounter at the state level. "Anyone interested in the direction our country is headed in would be well served to pay attention to Mississippi," he said. "It is a unique microcosm of so many ideological struggles and national movements."


Chokwe Lumumba's historic win in Jackson, Mississippi, despite 'something undesirable going on'

KPFA Evening News, 06.10.2013

Jackson City Councilman Chokwe Lumumba upset his opponent in the Democratic primary run-off in Jackson, Mississippi, and then handily won the general election on June 4th, despite what Jackson native and author Tom Head called the incoherent, unarticulated, and disturbing opposition of white voters, conservative and progressive alike.


Chokwe Lumumba says the people of Jackson are ready to get it done

Councilman Chokwe Lumumba at his campaign celebration, 05.21.2013

KPFA Evening News, 05.25.2013


KPFA News Anchor Cameron Jones: Jackson, Mississippi City Councilman and renowned human rights attorney Chokwe Lumumba won this week’s Democratic primary runoff in the race to become Jackson’s next mayor. KPFA’s Ann Garrison has the story.  

KPFA/Ann Garrison: Jackson will hold a general election on June 4th, but the city is majority Democratic, so the Democratic primary effectively determines who the next mayor will be. There are two independents, but no Republican, on the general election ballot.

On Tuesday night, Lumumba’s campaign volunteers chanted ecstatically until Councilman Lumumba emerged holding high the hands of two of his children, Chokwe Antar Lumumba and Rukia Lumumba, both of whom have become lawyers like their father. He then urged the crowd to prepare to join him in restoring Jackson’s infrastructure.  

Chokwe Lumumba campaign volunteers: CHOKWE LUMUMBA! CHOKWE LUMUMBA! CHOKWE LUMUMBA!

Chokwe Lumumba: We are about to do some big things in Jackson. Not just because you’ve elected Chokwe Lumumba. But we’re about to do some big things in Jackson because the people of Jackson are ready to get it done. This is not somethin’ just’ to be given to us. This is something that we collectively gotta earn. We’ve gotta work hard to make these things happen. And that’s what I’m hoping, that I get some plans out of everybody who helped me get elected. . . that we’re gonna work hard to fix the streets of Jackson, fix the water of Jackson, to fix the infrastructure of Jackson, to fix the crime problem in Jackson, and to fix everything that has to be fixed in Jackson.

KPFA: As a Jackson City Councilman Chokwe Lumumba has pushed for legislation requiring local hiring in Jackson's public construction projects,  to ensure that funds devoted to rebuilding Jackson's infrastructure also benefit the people of Jackson, by employing them.Councilman Lumumba's promise to rebuild Jackson and employ Jackson's people doing it has been the backbone of his campaign.

For Pacifica, KPFA, and AfrobeatRadio, I’m Ann Garrison.


Chokwe Lumumba's close race: why it matters

KPFA Evening News, 05.18.2013

The Jackson, Mississippi press is reporting "crunch time" in a close mayor's race. Jackson’s population is majority Black and Democratic, so Tuesday’s Democratic primary run-off, between Black Democrat Chokwe Lumumba and Black Democrat Jonathan Lee, will effectively determine who the city’s next mayor will be. The Jackson Free Press reports, however, that donors to the Jonathan Lee campaign have also given $1.2 million to federal Republican campaigns since 2008. Second District Mississippi Congressman Bernie Thompson has endorsed and campaigned with Lumumba, whom he calls "the real Democrat" in the race.

ColorLines Founding Editor Bob Wing, who traveled from Durham, North Carolina to Jackson, Mississippi, to work on the Chokwe Lumumba for Mayor campaign, spoke to KPFA about why it matters. 




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