JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – City officials say first-term Jackson Mayor Chokwe Lumumba has died. He was 66.
Lumumba, who had served one term on the City Council, became mayor last July. He was one of two candidates who defeated then-Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. in the Democratic primary. Lumumba then defeated businessman Jonathan Lee in the general election.
Lumumba was born in Detroit as Edwin Taliaferro, and changed his name in 1969, when he was in his early 20s. He said he took his new first name from an African tribe that resisted slavery centuries ago and his last name from African independence leader Patrice Lumumba.
He moved to Jackson in 1971 as a human rights activist. He went to law school in Michigan in the mid-1970s and returned to Jackson in 1988.
“Deborah and I are shocked and saddened by the news of Mayor Lumumba’s passing and are praying for his loved ones. Just a short time ago, I had the opportunity to join the mayor in a church pew as we welcomed a new development to the city. His enthusiasm for Jackson will be deeply missed.” – Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, Republican.
“I am deeply saddened by the death of my friend, Mayor Chokwe Lumumba. I have known Mayor Lumumba since 1974. One of the reasons I was so public about my support for the mayor, was that I believed once people got to know the real Chokwe Lumumba they would find him to be an extremely bright, caring and humble individual. His election as mayor and very short term in office demonstrated exactly that. This evening the city of Jackson truly suffered a great loss. I would like to extend my condolences to the Lumumba family and the city of Jackson.” – U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, Democrat, 2nd District.
“We are saddened to learn of the death of Mayor Chokwe Lumumba. He had a vision for our city that should not be lost with his passing.” – Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, a Republican.
“My colleagues and I were saddened to learn of the sudden death of Mayor Chokwe Lumumba. The mayor and his administration had embarked on a strong and courageous plan of progressive action for the city of Jackson. Mayor Lumumba’s quiet yet forceful leadership will be missed. Our thoughts, prayers, and sincere condolences go out to Mayor Lumumba’s family, friends, and the citizens of our capital city.” – State Rep. Bobby Moak of Bogue Chitto, House Democratic Caucus Leader.
“Mayor Lumumba was a man of true conviction and a powerful change agent for the city of Jackson and the state of Mississippi. I was moved by his compassion and impressed by what he was able to accomplish in his short time as Jackson’s mayor. Please join me in praying for Mayor Lumumba’s friends, family, and the great city of Jackson.” – Brandon Jones, executive director, Mississippi Democratic Trust.
“While only in office a short time, Chokwe Lumumba will be remembered as a great mayor of the city of Jackson. Our prayers are with his family, and our neighbors, as we mourn the loss of this remarkable man.” – Robert Shuler Smith, district attorney of Hinds County.