The legacy of Chokwe Lumumba is built on the principles of social justice and unity my grandparents taught my father as a child. He grew into manhood in the Black Power and New Afrikan independence movements. Chokwe Lumumba was a revolutionary who loved his people and humanity. His love for the people is reflected in his work as an organizer, lawyer, and elected official. This special issue on his legacy helps interpret his work and love for our people and our current work to build people’s power in Jackson and Mississippi.
The People Must Decide!
Free the land!
Chokwe Antar Lumumba
Mayor, City of Jackson, MS
On May 21, 2013, revolutionary attorney and New Afrikan independence activist Chokwe Lumumba was elected mayor of Jackson, Mississippi. Lumumba’s election was celebrated by elements of the Black Liberation and progressive forces throughout the United States and signaled a new political model and momentum for grassroots activism. Jackson, Mississippi and Movement activists nationally and internationally mourned Lumumba’s untimely death in February of 2014. This issue of The Black Scholar highlights the political legacy of Chokwe Lumumba and is edited by a former comrade of Lumumba, Akinyele Umoja. Umoja is Professor and Chair of the Department of African-American Studies at Georgia State University and has spent decades as an activist in the Black freedom struggle.
Most of the contributions in this issue are from activist intellectuals uniquely qualified to provide analysis of Lumumba’s contributions. Scholar-activist and cultural worker Michael Simanga worked with Lumumba in Detroit and in the Black Liberation movement. Simanga analyzes the political significance of Lumumba’s electoral campaigns. Kent State University Professor Asantewa Sunni-Ali interviews Lumumba’s children, Rukia and Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba. With Rukia serving as a co-coordinator of the campaign, Chokwe Antar was elected mayor of Jackson in 2017. Sunni-Ali is in a unique position to conduct and interpret Rukia and Chokwe Antar’s experience because she is the daughter of two revolutionary New Afrikan activists and comrades of Lumumba, Bilal and Fulani Sunni-Ali. Venezuela Consul to the U.S. and Afro-descendant activist and scholar Jesus “Chucho” Garcia worked with Lumumba and hosted the New Afrikan revolutionary in Venezuela in 2011. Finally, our guest editor, Umoja, worked with Lumumba since 1979. Along with several others, he and Lumumba co-founded two organizations, the New Afrikan Peoples Organization and the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement. Umoja’s essay, “The People Must Decide: Chokwe Lumumba, New Black Power, and the Potential for Participatory Democracy in Mississippi,” interprets Lumumba’s role as a revolutionary democrat and how his and Chokwe Antar Lumumba’s political victories in Mississippi inform the movement for Black power in the 21st century. While much of the issue focuses on Lumumba’s work in Jackson as an elected official, this issue also features two of his contributions to The Black Scholar, “Repression and Black Liberation” (1973) and “Perspectives on Human Rights: A Question of Alliances in a State of War” (1980). These articles give his perspective on the covert war on the Black liberation struggle and his internationalist outlook. Cover art for this volume was provided by Jackson, Mississippi visual artist Derek Perkins.
Preview the issue here. For a limited time, readers have free access to download and read Akinyele Umoja’s introduction to the issue along with Asantewa Fulani Sunni-Ali’s interview, “Living Lumumba’s Legacy and Manifesting the People’s Platform: A Conversation with Rukia and Chokwe Antar Lumumba.”
To read the entire issue, subscribe to volume 48 here. More information on upcoming issues in this and future volumes can be found here. For a limited time, use the discount code RTBSDIS for 10% off a personal subscription. As they become available and while supplies last, individual copies are available for purchase in our online store.