Chokwe Lumumba is the New Mayor of Jackson, Mississippi
By Bob Wing
Progressive America Rising
June 5, 2013 – Chokwe Lumumba–a founder and leader of the Republic of New Afrika, the New Afrikan People’s Organization and Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, defense attorney for Tupac Shakur and others, and a first term city councilman–is the new Mayor of Jackson, Miss.
His June 4 victory is a stirring tribute to the courageous Mississippi civil rights leader Medgar Evers who fifty years ago on June 12, 1963 was gunned down at his Jackson home.
In a stunning turn of events Chokwe defeated Jackson’s three-term incumbent and first African American mayor Harvey Johnson, the white Republican-financed young Black businessman Jonathan Lee, and others to win leadership of the city with the second highest percentage of Black people in the United States.
I was privileged to briefly participate in the victory of one of the most radical mayors in U.S. history, right in the heart of Dixie, and to glimpse a new Black-led progressive coalition that intends to fight for the state.
Nina Simone famously cussed Mississippi white supremacy in her 1964 civil rights anthem “Mississippi Goddam.” The election of Chokwe Lumumba is now an occasion to say “Jackson Hell Yes!”
‘Impressed with the People’
Jackson has a partisan mayoral electoral system that allows all voters regardless of party affiliation to cast ballots in any party’s primary election. With their deep pockets and high turnout bloc voting, this so-called “crossover primary” often enables Mississippi’s ultra-conservative white voters and businessmen to influence the candidates of both parties.
Not this time. In a reversal the near unanimous financial and political support that whites gave Jonathan Lee backfired.
By depriving incumbent Johnson of their support, whites inadvertently helped Lumumba upset Johnson in the primary. And in the Lee/Lumumba runoff the full throated white backing of Lee helped most Black voters come crystal clear who he really represented in stark contrast to the powerful progressive grassroots candidacy of Chokwe Lumumba.
Lee flaunted his deep pockets by filling the airwaves with dire warnings of Lumumba’s “militancy,” “divisiveness” and “anti-Christianity,” but a large Black majority went for Lumumba in huge percentages.