Chokwe Lumumba has died, an extraordinary leader who carried a radical vision forged in the 1970s black power movement into the 21st Century where he retooled it for eight transformational months in city government.
A founder of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, an activist attorney and a former City Council member, Lumumba was elected mayor of Jackson, Mississippi, in June 2013, with 87 percent of the vote despite being massively outspent by his opponent. 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, his goal, he told me earlier this month, was “revolutionary transformation” but he not only inspired his community, he was clearly disarming his critics with his tireless commitment to building support for his twin goals of political and economic democracy.
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