YEAR IN REVIEW: Chokwe Lumumba Remembered - - Jackson, MS

YEAR IN REVIEW: Chokwe Lumumba Remembered


He was known as a legal champion for underdog clients.

Chokwe Lumumba was elected to the Jackson City Council before deciding to run for mayor. 

He won by an overwhelming majority of the vote and in the short time he served, made a big impact on the Capital City and the people he served.

Lumumba said, " Lumumba means gifted, Chokwe actually means hunter. So I'm a gifted hunter."

Before his death February 25th many were familiar with the stories of Chokwe Lumumba as a revolutionary and civil rights leader. 

Many saw his passion as combative, but as family, friends, colleagues, even one time adversaries remembered him, his commitment to public service and to Jackson are what they remembered and respected.

Lumumba told us, " I believe in human rights for everybody. If you look at my family background, my family background is a mixed background itself right, and so I would , it would be unacceptable to my mother, to my grandmother, my grandfather, all my ancestors that I do anything except fight for equality."

His mother worked for civil rights and his father was a boxer. 

In the crowd at his Celebration of Life Service, Gladys and Jamie Scott who credit the late mayor with helping them win their freedom from prison. 

They were found guilty of orchestrating a 1993 armed robbery of 11 dollars in Forest. 

They have always maintained their innocence. 

They served 16 years of consecutive life sentences. 

In 2010 former Governor Haley Barbour suspended their sentence on the condition that Gladys donate a kidney to Jamie.

Gladys Scott said, "he knew that in his heart that what they did was wrong and he was going to fight if it meant him risking his life. He was not going to stop until we were out of there."

Jamie Scott added, "there would be people that were homeless that would come knock on the door at his office and we would see him giving them money and he would tell them to go get you something to eat." 

The late mayor used his time in office to fight crime in Jackson.Lumumba explained, "I have a son, an older son who was shot in the head you know so he was, so I'm not soft on crime at all. And I know that where you find those two conditions, bad economic conditions and bad education conditions, it doesn't make a difference what color the people are, you have crime."

One of the first initiatives Mayor Lumumba spearheaded was a one cent sales tax. 

Due to his sudden death he was not able to see its effect. 

By September more than a million dollars was flowing into the city each month. 

It started March first with the city collecting a penny tax to go to help repair streets and other infrastructure.

Chokwe Lumumba only served six months as Mayor of Jackson. 

His son, Chokwe Antar Lumumba ran in the special election for the office, that was won by current Mayor, Tony Yarber.

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