Chokwe Antar Lumumba, Mayor Of Jackson, Is A Product Of Radical Black Organizing In The South

Chokwe Antar Lumumba, Mayor Of Jackson, Is A Product Of Radical Black Organizing In The South

Radical Black Organizing
Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba, responds to the city being named the winner of the Bloomberg Philanthropies 2018 Public Art Challenge winner, Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018. The city will receive a grant up to $1 million for a public art project addressing nutrition and food equity in Mississippi. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Jackson, Mississippi may have a blood-stained racial past, but its mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba Jr. is on a mission to make it the“most radical city on the planet.” Thanks to the South’s overwhelming embrace of progressive politics in recent elections, he may have a chance at success.

Lumumba’s historic victory in 2017 shouldn’t be seen as an aberration, but rather a result of a century of radical Black organizing in the South, said the Boston Review. Lumumba’s father, for whom he is named, did dedicate his life to fighting for equality for working class Blacks and win the mayoral election before an untimely death.

Jackson is more than 80 percent Black and has a poverty rate near 30 percent, reported The Nation. And since its Black residents, outnumbered white, slave owners, Blacks have been finding progressive ways to stand against white violence for centuries.

Historically, the white power structure went to extreme lengths to control Blacks and keep them in line. High amounts of lynchings and oppressive policies, caused Blacks to need a level of ingenuity simply to survive. Black rebellions, independent communities, canvassing, targeted voter registration, marches, and the like were all radical at the time they were implemented by Blacks in the Bible Belt fighting for their livelihood.

This is why Lumumba’s victory is viewed as a symptom, rather than the catalyst, of radical Black organizing leading to change. It’s also why in an age of severely partisan politics, Lumumba’s more progressive policies have him sitting in the mayor’s seat.

It’s why Lumumba believes his government is creating trust with its constituents.