Chokwe Lumumba (1947-2014)

February 27, 2014

Chokwe Lumumba: Remembering “America’s Most Revolutionary Mayor”

Obituary for Mr. Lumumba, Mayor of Jackson Mississippi

by Mike Ely

Chokwe Lumumba has died. The news just reached me, and has generated great feelings of sadness and loss. We do not yet know the causes, but will watch and listen… for that news.

Chokwe Lumumba was a lifelong revolutionary — a communist-inspired and Black nationalist leader — encircled by the organized networks of the New Afrikan Peoples Organization (NAPO) and the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM).

Chokwe embraced a defined revolutionary strategy for Black independence early, and then pursued it throughout his life.

At his death, he was the newly elected mayor of Jackson, Mississippi — a revolutionary winning by a landslide in this African American heartland, in the middle of the surrounding white racist heartland.

We will now never know what he would have done with that post, that pulpit, to affect the liberation politics of Black people, and of us all.

In a time when so few revolutionary voices are heard on the stage of visible politics, we are robbed of his. And the loss is real.

There is a feel here of the passing of a generation — stirred by the great civil rights movement, hardened by the great Black Liberation struggle, tempered by years in the wilderness of America.

Chokwe is gone. The dreams of Republic of New Afrika belong to a fading generation, that made a historic mark.

Who will rise to take their place? Who will step now forward? And under what banners? Who will learn the lessons, avoid the mistakes, and standing on shoulders like these reach even higher?

The passing of a generation demands the rise of successors.