Lumumba remembered - - Jackson, MS

Lumumba Remembered

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

He was an outspoken champion for justice and over the years and Chokwe Lumumba's style created some controversy. But no one could question his commitment.

Lumumba picked up some unflattering labels over the years; radical; belligerent...even racist. He was born Edwin Finley Taliaferro, August 2, 1947, but changed it during some turbulent times.

"Lumumba means gifted. Chokwe means hunter. So, I'm a gifted hunter," he said.

His passion for civil rights lead him to the Republic of New Afrika in 1971, a group calling for the creation of an independent African-American majority country within the U-S.

"We had things like Jackson State University students being murdered. And so, it was important to us to do what international law allows you to do, to state your cause to the world," said Lumumba.

As an attorney, he took on controversial cases, for example, winning freedom for Gladys and Jamie Scott; sisters imprisoned for a 1994 armed robbery.

In his bid for Jackson mayor, Lumumba addressed his critics in this 2013 interview.

"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 very ambitious kind of statement, but that's what I believe in," said 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."

Lumumba's message resonated with Jackson voters and he took office June 4th, 2013; the Detroit native proving in his brief tenure as leader of the Capital City, that he was mayor of all Jackson's citizens.

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