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Chokwe Lumumba

We are sad to report that Chokwe Lumumba, the mayor of Jackson, Miss., has passed away.

According to authorities, the 66-year-old died at St. Dominic Hospital today of unclear causes. Hinds County Coroner Sharon Grisham Stewar confirmed the reports, although further details surrounding his death have yet to be released.

“It is with a heavy heart that we inform you that our beloved brother, human rights activist and mayor of this great city, Mayor Chokwe Lumumba, passed away this afternoon,” Safiya Omari, Lumumba’s chief of staff, said in a statement before walking away in tears.

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Lumumba was a prominent attorney, former human rights activist and a popular man in his district. He won Jackson’s mayoral seat last June with 86% of the vote, defeating independent candidates Francis P. Smith, Jr. , Richard C. Williams and Cornelius Griggs.

As mayor, Mr. Lumumba passed a referendum to add a one-cent local sales tax, which helped pay for improvements to the city’s aging infrastructure.

He was born in Detroit as Edwin Taliaferro. He changed his name in 1969. According to the New York Times, “he said he took his new first name from an African tribe that resisted slavery centuries ago and his last name from the African independence leader Patrice Lumumba.”

We’ll be sure to keep you posted as more details arise.

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R.I.P: Jackson, Miss. Mayor Chokwe Lumumba Dies At 66  was originally published on