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Remembering the Legacy of Former Jackson Mayor Chokwe Lumumba

By Lawayne Childrey | Published 26 Feb 2014 07:56pm | comments

Residents in the capital city continue to mourn the sudden death of first term Mayor Chokwe Lumumba.  The 66 year old died Tuesday night at Saint Dominic's hospital in Jackson of apparent natural causes. MPB's Lawayne Childrey reports what many believe will be the mayors lasting legacy.

During his inauguration ceremony last summer civil rights activist turned politician Chokwe Lumumba made an impassioned plea for unity.

"We begin to criticize ourselves before we criticize anybody else right? And then that way we become a brotherhood and a sisterhood which is gonna lead this city forward. And the people of this city are looking for that right? I see you out there. I see all of you out there right? And I'm so happy that you are there."

One of those people Lumumba was referring to is his chief of staff Dr. Safiya Omari.

"Regardless of status, regardless of race he was a man who stood for justice for all. And he was able to always see the best in people. You know, people that other people would wanna throw away he could see a reason to hold on to them. He loved Jackson and he loved the people of Jackson and that's what he was committed to."

During his 7 months as mayor, Jackson City Councilman Tony Yarber says Lumumba never shied away from the tough decisions. Especially when he pushed for a one percent sales tax to improve the city's crumbling infrastructure.  

" He was a mayor who looked those kinds of choices in the face. And he weighed what's the benefit in those and he made the wise decision. And I think that, ah, people who had been the underdog, folks who've had to look for a champion,  found A champion in him."

Terri Moore, Pastor of Freedom Ministries International Church in Jackson also served as chaplain for the Lumumba administration.

"Every meeting I was in with him and everything that he said it was about the people. And he was always gracious, he was a gentleman. And he always made room for everyone that had a comment to speak their peace. And he would do everything he could to satisfy everything that was brought before him."  

The one percent sales tax that Lumumba championed goes into effect this Saturday March, 1st. It is expected to generate $300 million dollars over 20 years. City Council President Charles Tillman is now serving as acting Mayor.

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