The new mayor of Jackson, Mississippi who has promised to make Jackson “the most radical city on the planet” was sworn into office on Monday.
Chokwe Antar Lumumba’s victory is being lauded by progressives who are trying to remake the South in their image. While President Trump won big in the South, progressives are posing challenges to conservatives, especially in urban areas.
Lumumba has described a radical as someone who works to change troubling circumstances and has cited Martin Luther King Jr. and Jesus Christ as examples. One of the places where he made his vow was at the left-wing People’s Summit in Chicago last month, according to The Clarion-Ledger.
The summit promoted “social, racial and economic justice” and was sponsored by National Nurses United and other progressive groups. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders was the keynote speaker. The causes addressed included voting rights, free higher education, “climate justice,” and ending deportations of illegal immigrants.
Lumumba, who says he is sometimes mistaken for a Muslim but is a Christian, received 55 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary, trouncing the incumbent mayor. He won 93 percent of the vote in the general election.
Lumumba’s Detroit-born father was elected mayor of Jackson in 2013 but died after less than eight months in office. His birth name was Edwin Finley Taliaferro but he changed it to Chokwe Lumumba after becoming involved in Black Nationalist politics and helping start the New Afrikan People’s Organization and the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement. His son, Jackson’s new mayor and an attorney like his father, has said he is a “proud member” of the movement. Before his sweeping victory this year, he tried and failed to become mayor in the special election held in 2014 to replace his father.
The progressive magazine The Nation praised Lumumba in an article in May after he won the this year’s primary, celebrating him as part of “the new wave of in-the-streets and at-the-polls activism that is sweeping the South.”
The article also mentioned Black Lives Matter activist khalid kamau, who won a city council seat in South Fulton, Georgia in April. According to his website, kamau’s last name is “lower-cased in the Yoruba African tradition, emphasizes the community over the individual and literally means ‘eternal quiet warrior.’ ” kamau is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), which has a small but growing presence in Tennessee.