Mind you, Mississippi remains the only state to still have the Confederate flag on its state flag. Yet, on Tuesday night, a true Black progressive is on track to become mayor of the capital of a state dripping with the history of virulent racism.
Chokwe Antar Lumumba, 34, is a defense attorney and son of the late Mayor Chokwe Lumumba, who became mayor of Jackson in 2013, but tragically died just 8 months after taking office. After the elder Lumumba’s sudden death, there were some allegations of foul play, with Min. Louis Farrakhan offering to fund an autopsy.
The late mayor was a member of the Republic of New Afrika, a social movement steeped in Black Nationalism; Lumumba was also part of the Malcolm X Grassroots movement, a pro-Black collective that promotes self-determination and an end to anti-black oppression—in the heart of the south at that.
On Tuesday, young Lumumba won the Democratic primary for mayor without a runoff, receiving over 55 percent of the vote against eight other candidates, reports the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. He will face Republican Jason Wells on June 6, and is expected to win in the heavily Democratic state capital.
Lumumba ran in 2014 to replace his father, but lost that race to Tony Yarber while caught in a vortex of significant life changes. He won the primary that year but his slim margin caused a runoff where he lost to Yarber, who garnered support from the white business community.
“In a two-month time span, I laid my father to rest and ran a campaign for the first time, and my wife gave birth to our first child,” Lumumba told In These Times. “So it was a whirlwind. That experience prepared us for what we’re taking on now.”
Though the younger Lumumba has never held public office, he helped craft some of his father’s policies, including The People’s Platform, which according to his mayoral website, “is a platform which arises out of several years of discussion on human rights, political, economic, and social empowerment.”