Rest in Peace – Honorable Chokwe Lumumba

Mississippi Mayors

In Memoriam: A Tribute to, and a Celebration of the life of, the Honorable Chokwe Lumumba

Issued by: the National Lawyers Guild

All of us in the National Lawyers Guild are deeply saddened by the sudden and untimely death of the Honorable Chokwe Lumumba, the recently elected Mayor of Jackson, Mississippi.
We are proud that our Detroit/Michigan Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild was, at its Annual Dinner on January 25, 2014, one of the first organizations to honor Chokwe Lumumba, both for his successful election campaign, and for his steadfast commitment to social justice.

Our brother, Chokwe Lumumba, lived a genuinely revolutionary life, providing guidance to, and learning from, the ordinary people: the poor, the oppressed, and the disenfranchised. As a young activist, Chokwe Lumumba adopted the principles of participatory democracy; economic democracy; racial justice; human rights; and gender equality, and then spent his life steadfastly working to make these concepts a reality. As a practicing progressive attorney, Chokwe Lumumba successfully used the law as a tool for the liberation of people, and opposed the use of the law as a means of repression. He recently secured freedom for the Scott sisters from the life prison terms they had been serving for having allegedly been accomplices in a robbery of $11.

Chokwe Lumumba proved that one does not have to abandon principles to be successful in politics; and that it is possible to rally people alienated from the two major American political parties, and rouse them to seek their own liberation through collective political action.

Tragically, Chokwe Lumumba was able to hold office for only a few short months; but in that time he articulated a vision of new ways to organize city government to serve the people. He also advanced a program of how to generate new economic growth that would not just empower the people of Jackson, but the poor and disenfranchised throughout Mississippi and neighboring states.

But Chokwe Lumumba’s election as Mayor was simply the culmination of his lifetime struggle for human rights. We now inherit the obligation to fulfill the deep promise embodied by his successful election campaign. Chokwe Lumumba’s inspiration gives us new commitment to champion the political and social values he spent his life striving for.

We will take a moment today to mourn for Chokwe Lumumba, and indeed, we will miss him terribly. But the best way to honor the memory of Chokwe Lumumba is to keep in mind what he would say to us if he could. He would no doubt echo the words of revolutionary labor organizer Joe Hill: “Don’t mourn for me: Organize!”

No individual can replace Chokwe Lumumba. But, collectively, we can advance all he stood for. Indeed, if Chokwe Lumumba stood for anything, it was that we, the people, can make progress through the kind of organized, collective effort represented by his iconic election.


(1) Saturday, March 15, 2014 1:00pm
Fellowship Chapel
Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony, Pastor
7707 W. Outer Drive
Detroit, Michigan 48235
Please send Flowers to: Fellowship Chapel

Saturday, March 15, 2014 6:00 – 8:00 P.M.
Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
315 E. Warren Avenue, Detroit, Michigan 48202
African Drummers, Dancers, Poets, Singers, Musicians and Film Presentation

Sunday, March 16, 2014 10:00 A.M.
Sacred Heart Church
Fr. Norman Paul Thomas, Pastor
1000 Eliot Detroit, MI 48207