Activist Chokwe Antar Lumumba Wins Jackson Mayoral Race with 93 Percent of Votes

By Sameer Rao Jun 07, 2017

Chokwe Antar Lumumba carried the momentum behind his May primary win into a general election victory in Jackson, Mississippi’s contest for mayor yesterday (June 6).

The Jackson Free Press reports that the 34-year-old defense attorney and Democrat won 23,175 votes, or 93 percent of the overall vote. His closest challenger, Republican Jason Wells, received only 900 votes (4 percent).

"When I say, ‘When I become mayor, you become mayor,’ it’s because I need to listen to you," Lumumba told supporters, in reference to his campaign slogan, during his election watch party last night. "So that means y’all got some work to do. Are y’all ready to work?" he continued to applause and cheers.

Lumumba’s victory came barely a month after he defeated his eight Democratic primary candidates, including current mayor Tony Yarber, with 55 percent of the votes. That primary win nearly guaranteed his success. According to state election data, nearly 71 percent of Hinds County, where most of Jackson lies, voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, and the city’s previous seven mayors (including Yarber, who will remain in the position until next month) were Black Democrats.

Lumumba’s father, Chokwe Lumumba, won the 2013 election and died just eight months into his tenure. The senior Lumumba was a human rights activist and lawyer who previously worked with the Republic of New Afrika, a Black nationalist organization that advocated for an independent Black republic within the Southern states. 

The mayor-elect won on a progressive platform that included creating a civilian law enforcement review board, reforming public school education pedagogy and prioritizing businesses owned by people of color for city contracts. The Nation reports that he marched with Black auto plant workers at the March on Mississippi and co-founded the Mississippi Human Rights Collective, which demanded the removal of Confederate insignia from the state flag.