Thursday, May 21, 2009

If You Think Jackson Hasn't Changed Since the 60s . . .

If you think "nothing much has changed" in Jackson, Mississippi since the 1960s, check this out. From the website of Howard University School of Law in Washington DC, here is the short biography of Chokwe Lumumba, Councilman-Elect of Jackson, Mississippi (as submitted by Mr. Lumumba's law firm):

Chokwe Lumumba is the National Chair and a co-founder of the New Afrikan People’s Organization (N.A.P.O.). He has served as NAPO’s chairperson since its inception in 1984 having been re-elected to the position in 2004. As national chair of the organization, Lumumba now resides in Jackson, Mississippi. Lumumba was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan.

Lumumba’s leadership helped NAPO to establish an office and organizational presence in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1989. Lumumba has been in the leadership of campaigns in Jackson against police terror, and has joined with others to stop the Ku Klux Klan march planned for Jackson in April of 1990.

Lumumba is co-founder and a member of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and was an officer and co-founder of the Jackson Human Rights Coalition. He served as the Vice-Chair of the Grassroots Convention in Jackson, Mississippi in 1994.

As a member of NAPO, Lumumba has led and/or participated in the organization’s community youth programs, anti-crime patrols, political education forums, legal service clinics, and various other community service activities. He has also partaken in political action campaigns against racist institutions, the U.S. bombing of Libya, and many other acts of economic exploitation, racism, and international lawlessness.

In July of 1969, Chokwe Lumumba became a conscious citizen of the New Afrikan nation in North America, and a legionnaire in the Black Legion of the Republic of New Afrika. He served as acting President and Vice President of the Republic of New Afrika.

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In September of 2005, Chokwe Lumumba co-founded the Mississippi Disaster Relief Coalition (MS-DRC) in response to Hurricane Katrina and assisted in the distribution of tons of material aid to Katrina survivors. He serves as the coordinator of MS-DRC and as a member of the Interim Coordinating Committee of the Peoples Hurricane Relief Fund, Oversight Coalition. He also serves on the coordinating committee of the Black Activist Coalition on Katrina.

He was the co-coordinator and co-organizer of the December 8–9, 2005 From Outrage to Action Conference in Jackson, which was attended by about 600 Katrina survivors and/or supporters, and of the December 10, 2005, Right to Return March on New Orleans which drew about 5,000 participants.

Brother Chokwe has not only pursued and protected human rights on the streets, but he has championed the same in the courts. Chokwe is an Attorney at Law. He graduated with honors from Wayne State University Law School in 1975 after finishing first in his freshman law class in 1973-74. Lumumba initially entered law school at Wayne State University in the fall of 1969 before leaving to work full time for the RNA in Mississippi and Detroit.

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In the early and mid 1990’s, Lumumba won a string of major victories in Mississippi Courts. He won an acquittal for DeWayne Boyd, a New Afrikan (Black) land development activist who was framed on arson charges after discovering and reporting dishonest schemes by white farmers to control and profit from DeWayne’s family’s land in Starkville, Mississippi. He and Oxford, Mississippi, Attorney Gail Thompson defeated the attempts by the State of Mississippi to put John Buford Irving to death for the alleged murder of a white store owner in 1976, by winning Irving’s 1995 death penalty trial.

He won a not guilty verdict for a 13 year old New Afrikan Youth, Elliot Culp, on May 10, 1996. Culp was charged with robbing and killing a 64 year old white woman. He was the youngest person ever tried on capital murder charges in Mississippi.

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Lumumba is a member of the National Conference of Black Lawyers. He also practices law in Michigan as of Counsel to Jeffrey Edison. From April 1991 until October 10, 2005 he practiced in Jackson, Mississippi.

I have some familiarity with the John Irving case discussed above. This was a truly remarkable victory. The all-white jury returned a unanimous life verdict for Mr. Irving, an African-American, for the homicide of a white store owner. The lesson: don't underestimate Mr. Lumumba's ability to persuade people of all races, classes and political persuasions. And don't underestimate his commitment It will make for an interesting term on the City Council.

1 comment:

Eric said...

While I have never had a knock-down type of case with Chokwe, I have alway enjoyed working with him in City Court. Always cordial and professional, and looking forward to watching his work on the coucil.