chokwe lumumba succumbed to heart failure on tuesday and made his transition. the 66 year-old black revolutionary, human rights activist, lawyer and mayor of jackson, mississippi was revered within the black community, and among progressive folk worldwide.
safiya omari, his chief of staff, told usa today, "it is with heavy heart that we inform you that our beloved brother, human rights activist and mayor of the great city passed away this afternoon. we ask that you pray for his children and family, his friends and for this great city of ours."
lumumba was born edwin taliaferro in detroit. he rejected his "slave name," renaming himself for congolese independence leader patrice lumumba, - and chokwe, an angolan tribe. he helped a group of students take over a western michigan university campus building the day after rev. dr. martin luther king, jr. was assassinated. they demanded more black professors and scholarships for black students and black studies.
as a black nationalist, lumumba worked as a leader for the republic of new afrika, proposing an independent black country in the u.s. in 2011, while serving as a city council for jackson's ward 2, he campaigned successfully for mississippi governor haley barbour to pardon the scott sisters, who served 16 years for a robbery they denied committing.
lumumba successfully ran for mayor of jackson, mississippi. he sought to revive a crumbling city dealing with an eroding infrastructure, middle-class flight and poverty. former naacp president ben jealous tweeted, "you were a man's man and a servant of humanity. it was an honor to help you free so many wrongly convicted people."
jackson council member melvin priester, jr. said, "he was a great mayor because he was always open and transparent. we didn't agree about everything, but you could talk to him, and if you had disagreements you could vent it out. he brought a spirit of openness."
- mark j. tuggle
- harlem, usa
- same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. firstname.lastname@example.org.