Closer look at Jackson mayoral candidate Lumumba - - Jackson, MS

Lumumba denies claims of racial intolerance

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City councilman and lawyer Chokwe Lumumba stakes his claim on human rights and equality. City councilman and lawyer Chokwe Lumumba stakes his claim on human rights and equality.
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The two leading men battling for the chance to become Jackson's next mayor campaigned into the night as voters prepared to go to the polls for Tuesday's Democratic Primary runoff.

City councilman and lawyer Chokwe Lumumba stakes his claim on human rights and equality.

As 65-year-old Chokwe Lumumba quietly prepares for his zoning committee meeting in city hall, it's hard to imagine this stately, bespeckled, gentleman could be at the center of so much controversy.

As an attorney, he has taken on controversial cases, from the Azikiwe Kambule and Elliot Culp murder cases to freeing the Scott sisters. Born Edwin Finley Taliaferro, Lumumba changed his name in 1969.

The name change, coupled with his affiliation with organizations deemed radical by some, calls into question everything from his religion to his racial tolerance. It is criticism Lumumba calls misconceptions.

"The reality is that even the organizations that people talk about me being in have in their platform that there shall be no color, gender or class discrimination, which is a very ambitious kind of statement, but that's what they believed in and that's what I believe in," claims Lumumba.

"I believe in human rights for everybody. If you look at my family background. my family background is a mixed background itself and so it would be unacceptable to my grandfather, grandmother, all my ancestors, that I do anything accept fight for equality," assures Lumumba.

Lumumba adds he is not a Muslim and never has been. He claims he has maintained a Christian affiliation. As for his vision for the city of Jackson, the mayoral hopeful says he wants to see financial growth for the community and its people.

"What I like to see, if people who didn't have it yesterday, have it today. I want to see people who weren't getting paid much yesterday, I want to see salaries go up. I want to see business that didn't exist yesterday come into existence tomorrow. And those are the things that I think [are] going to help brighten Jackson's future and also make Jackson attractive to the outside world," states Lumumba.

As for his opponent, Lumumba wants voters to know Jonathon Lee's support comes from heavily republican precincts.

"Even though [Lee] got votes in other parts of the city, too, the reality is a large portion of his votes, heavily came from the areas that voted against Obama and vote for Romney," claims Lumumba.

Lumumba says he will continue working the streets and take part in a radio interview in the final hours of his campaign. He will find out if his work paid off when voters go to the polls on Tuesday.

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