Remembering Chokwe Lumumba — Jackson Mayor and Global Freedom Fighter

JACKSON, Miss.–The shocking news of the passing of Chokwe Lumumba, mayor of Jacknson, Mississippi on Tuesday, February 25, 2014, not only went viral, but global. Lumumba was Jackson’s mayor but the world’s premiere freedom fighter. A gentleman’s gentleman, he didn’t have to overthrow the government in a military stance to seize control of Mother Africa’s children’s future. For Brother Chokwe Lumumba, it was always ‘Nation Time’ and ‘Free the Land!’ A true visionary, Lumumba worked within the confines of the judicial and legislative branches of government to achieve self determination for the masses. First, as a civil rights trial lawyer, both in Jackson and in his hometown of Detroit, MI, then as a city councilman representing Ward 2 before taking the helm as mayor of the city of Jackson in June 2013. He may have only served eight months in office, but he spent his life preparing for this time to empower his people to make decisions that would create economic opportunities for them and future generations. In the political arena, he was as masterful as he was in the courtroom, exquisitely prepared to handle the prosecution, the jury and the judge, and bailiffs if necessary. The Chokwe I knew did light his candle from both ends on behalf of justice, but oh what a wonderful flame in the end that will burn forever more. He gave God his all, and in return his heart was heard with all its thunder by the disenfranchised and the misdirected. He stood tall for those bent over by the weight of poverty, discrimination, racism, bigotry, idleness, miseducation, self-hatred and every other poison to the human spirit. He utilized the family values taught to him at an early age and embraced the tools of self determination he garnered through his elders in various institutions from college to the board rooms of the Republic of New Afrika and the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement. He earned his red, black and green banner long ago, of which he refused to lower even as an elected official in the conclaves that only wave the red, white and blue. Chokwe was a lover and protector of God’s people. Wherever and whenever injustice raised its ugly head, he was there with sword in hand and wearing cleated heel shoes. As an intellectual and student of the Word, he could reason with a reasonable man, as well as avoid trying to convince a fool or consort with the enemy. No trap could be laid to discredit him as a frontline soldier in the war on disillusionment. Lumumba gave life to the lifeless, hope to the hopeless, voice to the voiceless, trust to the untrusting, dreams to the sleepers, and courage to the fearful. He was our knight in shiny armor, our magic mirror of what we could be as a people, strong and committed to God’s holy word. Lumumba was a man of God, a man among men, and a friend. Glory hallelujah! Alice Thomas-Tisdale is publisher of the Jackson Advocate in Mississippi.



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