Remembering Chokwe Lumumba

Can you be a revolutionary and a mayor? Chokwe Lumumba—who spent eight months as mayor of Jackson, Mississippi, before he died this Tuesday—did his best to be both.

Chokwe Lumumba, an extraordinary leader with a vision of liberation forged in the 1960s Black Power movement, died on Tuesday after eight transformational months in office as Mayor of Jackson, Miss.

A founder of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, an activist attorney, and a former City Council member, Lumumba was elected Mayor of Jackson in June 2013 with 86 percent of the vote--despite being massively outspent. In office, he brought people together across class and race lines and thawed a multi-year freeze between the city and state legislators.

His language was direct and his goal was "revolutionary transformation." He not only inspired his own community, but he also disarmed his critics with a tireless commitment to building support for his twin goals of political and economic democracy.

"The mission is to accomplish economic development together," he told me in an interview just two weeks before his sudden death by heart attack. We met in his office in Jackson City Hall on February 12 to talk about "solidarity economics" for an upcoming article for YES! Magazine's Commonomics project.

Here is our full conversation.

Keep reading...Show less

Join Us: News for people demanding a better world

Common Dreams is powered by optimists who believe in the power of informed and engaged citizens to ignite and enact change to make the world a better place.

We're hundreds of thousands strong, but every single supporter makes the difference.

Your contribution supports this bold media model—free, independent, and dedicated to reporting the facts every day. Stand with us in the fight for economic equality, social justice, human rights, and a more sustainable future. As a people-powered nonprofit news outlet, we cover the issues the corporate media never will. Join with us today!

This article was written for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas and practical actions. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.