Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Former Detroiter, Atty. Chokwe Lumumba, Wins Seat on City Council in Jackson, Mississippi

Message From Kali Akuno:

Greetings Comrades,

So, its official. Chokwe Lumumba is now the City Councilman for Ward 2 in Jackson, Mississippi after winning 61% of the vote yesterday (May 19th). See first link here

MXGM thanks everyone who supported the campaign with donations, outreach, and political support of various kinds. But, this just the beginning. We are still going to need all your help in implementing a transformative program in Jackson that will empower oppressed and working people in the South and throughout the US. So, stay tuned!

In Unity and Struggle,

May 19, 2009

Lumumba, Bluntson win council seats

Clarion Ledger
By Heather Civil

Ward 4 Councilman Frank Bluntson and newcomer to Ward 2 Chockwe Lumumba are celebrating victories in their respective City Council races tonight.

Bluntson,73, took 55 percent of the votes over challenger Bo Brown’s 45 percent, according to unofficial results.

“I’m on cloud two,” Bluntson said with a laugh.

Lumumba, a 61-year-old attorney, took 60 percent of the votes to Wydett Hawkins’ 40 percent in Ward 4, according to unofficial results.

Political Biography of Atty. Chokwe Lumumba

Chokwe Lumumba was born August 2, 1947 in Detroit, Michigan. The second child of Priscilla and Lucien Taliaferro, Lumumba was taught about racism and social justice by his activist parents. An excellent student and athlete, he graduated from high school with honors and went on to obtain his undergraduate degree in political science from Kalamazoo College. Lumumba initially entered law school at Wayne State University in the fall of 1969, but cut his tenure there short to work full time on the front line as a political activist for the Republic of New Afrika (RNA) in Mississippi and Detroit. He returned to law school in 1973, and finished first in his freshman law class, receiving the Hornbook Award in 1975 in recognition of that accomplishment. While in law school, Lumumba served as an officer of the Black Legal Alliance (a Black law student organization) and continued to struggle persistently for the rights of New Afrikan (Black) students, partaking in various demonstrations against racism at the institution. Lumumba received the American Jurisprudence Contract Award for ranking first in his contracts class in 1975 and graduated with honors from Wayne State University Law School that same year. Indeed, after receiving his law degree, Lumumba served as co-counsel and plaintiff in a successful anti-racism lawsuit against Wayne State Law School in 1979.

Attorney Lumumba has had a long and distinguished career as an accomplished defense attorney and a powerful political activist. In July of 1969, he became a conscious citizen of the New Afrikan nation in North America, and a legionnaire in the Black Legion of the RNA. He later served as acting President and Vice President for the Provisional Government, RNA. Since relocating to Mississippi in 1988, he has continued his stellar legal career as a legal advocate for the poor and powerless in the courtroom and established himself as an uncompromising and formidable force for social justice in the streets. Some highlights of his legal and activist career are presented in the subsequent text.

Attorney Lumumba has been instrumental in the formation and maintenance of a number of organizations dedicated to the liberation of New Afrikan people. In 1978-79, he was a co-founder of the National Black Human Rights Coalition and the Detroit Black Human Rights Coalition. He actively participated in the effort to build a National Human Rights Campaign. On November 5, 1979, Lumumba and two other national leaders presented a statement charging the U.S. with human rights violations to the president of the U.N. General Assembly, Salim Ahmed Salim. This presentation was part of a demonstration by 5, 000 New Afrikan (Black people) at the UN on Black Solidarity Day.

Attorney Lumumba is the National Chairman and a co-founder of the New Afrikan People's Organization (NAPO), and has served as NAPO's chairperson since its inception in 1984. His leadership has helped NAPO to establish an office and organizational presence in Jackson, Mississippi. 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 been involved in political action campaigns against racist institutions, the U.S. bombing of Libya, and many other acts of economic exploitation, racism, and international lawlessness. He joined with others to stop the Ku Klux Klan March planned for Jackson in April of 1990, and has been in the leadership of campaigns in Jackson against police terror and other injustices.

Attorney Lumumba is also a co-founder and member of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM) and was an officer and co-founder of the defunct Jackson Human Rights Coalition. In 1993, he helped to organize and served as the Vice-Chair of the 1st Grassroots Convention in Jackson, Mississippi. Attorney Lumumba has not only pursued and protected human rights on the streets, but he has championed the same in the courts. He is a member of the National Conference of Black Lawyers, and is the Senior Attorney of Lumumba, Freelon and Associates in Jackson, Mississippi and of counsel to Jeffery Edison and Gerald Evelyn in Detroit, Michigan.

In 1977, Attorney Lumumba served briefly as attorney for Black Liberation Army Soldier, Assata Shakur, in a murder case that was dismissed in Brooklyn, New York. Additionally, Attorney Lumumba has defended a number of stalwarts in the struggle, such as Dr. Mutulu Shakur, Fulani Sunni Ali and Bilal Sunni Ali. All three were charged in the 1981 Brink's case, also known as the “Free the Land” case. Each of these New Afrikan freedom fighters was charged with participation in the 1981 Brinks incident in New York. All charges were dismissed against Fulani and Bilal was found not guilty of all charges against him. Dr. Shakur was also charged with the liberation of Assata Shakur from Clinton Prison in 1979. He was unjustly convicted of all charges in 1988 and is now a prisoner of war at Atlanta Federal Prison in Atlanta, Georgia.

Attorney Lumumba was also a part of the legal team that successfully defended sixteen New Afrikan (Black) prisoners who faced possible death penalties in the case of the Pontiac Brothers in Illinois in 1981. In that case, sixteen New Afrikan prisoners were charged with the deaths of three white guards who died during a prison rebellion against inhuman prison conditions in the Pontiac Prison. Ten of the Pontiac Brothers were found not guilty. The cases against the others were dismissed.

Attorney Lumumba and National Conference of Black Lawyers (NCBL) Attorney La'Chelle M. Woodert successfully represented Lance Parker, the defendant in one of the criminal cases following the Los Angeles rebellion in 1993. Lumumba also served as counsel and national legal coordinator for the late Tupac Shakur. He was successful, along with Atlanta Attorneys, Ken Ellis and Tony Axam, in winning dismissals of assault charges arising from allegations that Shakur shot at police officers in Atlanta.

In the early and mid 90's Lumumba won a string of major victories in Mississippi Courts. Lumumba and Attorneys Brunetta Brandy of Detroit and Everett Sanders of Natchez, Mississippi won a settlement against the City of Jackson for the family of Johnny Griffin of Jackson, Mississippi after he was gunned down in front of his children and in front of his home by a White Segregationist Soldier Cop (policeman) named Steve Wilson. He also 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 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 also won a not guilty verdict for a 13-year-old New Afrikan youth, Elliot Culp, in 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. Subsequently, the District Attorney continued to vindictively pursue Elliot Culp, and he was later indicted on charges of capital murder, rape, assault and robbery against a White couple in 2002. At trial he was found not guilty of capital murder, but was found guilty of all other charges. The case is now on appeal. It has been discovered that the wife of one of the prosecutors and an employee of the police department sat as chairperson and secretary of the Grand Jury that indicted Culp.

When a young New Afrikan man named George Little acted in self defense and shot and killed a white store owner who had an infamous history of attacking and shooting New Afrikans in Como, Mississippi, Lumumba, Attorney Gail Thompson, and Attorney Barry Howard defended Little against murder charges. Little was found not guilty of murder, but guilty of manslaughter. Later, Lumumba represented Little on appeal and in 1995 the manslaughter charges were reversed. Even later, Lumumba represented Little on a retrial for manslaughter and Little was found not guilty. Additionally, in 1998, Attorney Lumumba, along with Attorneys Kenneth Page and Mildred Lesure, won a not guilty verdict in the case of Christopher Marshall, a New Afrikan who was falsely charged with capital murder in the death of the sister-in-law of former Mississippi Governor William Winters in Senatobia, Mississippi.

Attorney Lumumba has also represented New Afrikan workers in numerous race and sex discrimination cases in Mississippi. He and Attorney Sharon Henderson prevailed in a lawsuit against the Frito Lay Company on behalf of two fired New Afrikan employees. Lumumba also assisted in winning settlements in discrimination cases against the Jackson Housing Authority, the Specialty Foods Corporation, and the Anderson Tully Company. In 1999, Lumumba represented Local 149 of Bakers, Confectionary, and Tobacco Workers in a suit Against Frito-Lay Corporation before the National Labor Relations Board and helped win the case before the Administrative Law Judge. Lumumba was co-counsel with Roselyn Thomas of the NLRB.

Other Mississippi cases handled by Chokwe Lumumba are:

1. State vs. Dorothy Thomas: Black woman baby sitter found not guilty of white infant’s death in Holmes County. Baby died of shaken baby syndrome.

2. State vs. Curtis Flowers: Eleven whites and one black person jury convicted young black man of capital murder in the killing of four (4) persons in a furniture store - an alleged hold-up. This case was reversed on appeal.

3. State vs. Terrance Williams: Young black man found not guilty of armed robbery in Lincoln County.

4. State vs. Azikiwe Kambule: This was death penalty case. Lumumba and Attorney Rob McDuff successfully won a dismissal of the death penalty. Kambule later pled guilty to armed car jacking and accessory after the murder of a Black social worker. Azikiwe Kambule is a young South Afrikan youth who was clearly in the wrong place at the wrong time. He received a totally unjust sentence of thirty-five (35) years in prison. Efforts are now being made to have Kambule repatriated to South Afrika or to have his guilty plea set aside.

5. U.S. vs. Starsky Redd: Redd was shot by police who attempted to frame him on drug charges in November, 2000. In Federal court, Redd was found not guilty on one drug charge and guilty on another which is now on appeal. He was also found not guilty of a weapons charge in Federal court. In State court, Redd was vindicated on all charges of aggravated assault against police officers.

6. State vs. Eddie Myers: Meyers was found not guilty of capital murder after shooting his sister-in-law, who was also a police officer, in self-defense.

Attorney Lumumba recently co-founded the People's Advocacy Center in Jackson, Mississippi as a non-profit law clinic designed to provide legal services for victims of police brutality, employment discrimination, and labor cases at reasonable prices. The Center provides a legal weapon for the poor and oppressed. His commitment to the community is illustrated by his service as General Manager of the Jackson Panthers, a very successful AAU Basketball team sponsored by the Malcolm X Center. The Center and the Panthers were recently the subject of a national news article concerning activities on Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevards across the United States.

Attorney Lumumba has received numerous awards throughout his career, both locally and nationally, for his political activism and his courtroom expertise. A few representative awards are presented below.

1985 - Champion of Human Rights Award, New Afrikan Legal Network, New York

1987 - Malcolm X Freedom Award, Los Angeles Chapter, NAPO

1990 - “Pioneer Of Human Rights Award,” National Conference of Black Lawyers

1992 - “Justice Award”Association of Black Law Students, Rutgers University

1992 - Community Service Award, Malcolm X Academy, Detroit, Michigan

1993 - “William Leo Hansberry Award,” United Afrikan Movement in New York

1993 - “Willing Worker Award,” Anderson United Methodist Church

1994 -“Commitment to Reparations Award,” NCOBRA

1995 - “Extraordinary Service in LA Rebellion Case” Free Los Angeles 4 Committee

1996 - “Chauncey Eckridge Distinguished Barrister Award” Southern Christian Leadership Conference

1996 - “4th Annual Marcus Garvey Celebration Nation-Building Award” Southern University Student Government Association

1996 - “Resolution Honoring Chokwe Lumumba” Wayne County Commission, Wayne County, Michigan

1997 - “R. Jess Brown Award,” Magnolia Bar Association, Jackson, Mississippi

1997 - “Malcolm X Award,” National Black United Front, Detroit Chapter

1998 - “Jack A. Young Award,” Jackson Branch NAACP

1999 - “Jackson Panthers’ Leadership Award,” Jackson Panthers AAU Team

2001 - “Breaking the Chains Award,” Family and Friends of Dr. Mutulu Shakur

2002 - “Martin Luther King, Jr. Award,” Councilman Kenneth Stokes

2003 - “Women for Progress Leadership Award,” Women for Progress

2003 - “Humanitarian Award,” Mississippi Federation of Democratic Women

2003 - “Martin Luther King, Jr. Man of the Year Award” Councilman Kenneth Stokes

2003 - “Imani Award” Kwanzaa Coalition, Jackson, MS

2004 - “State Builders Award” Provisional Government, RNA

2004 - “Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Community,” Firefighters Unlimited

Attorney Lumumba has also received a number of special tributes and resolutions, such as a resolution from Michigan State Senator Virgil Smith and Michigan State Representative Carolyn Kilpatrick in 1996, and was honored with a proclamation from the U. S. House of Representatives by Congressman Harold Ford, Jr. in 1997. He was honored with a “Tribute to a Warrior” testimonial by the Detroit City Council in 1996 and a Letter of Acclamation from City of Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer proclaiming October 5, 1996 as “Tribute to a Warrior” day in his honor.

Additionally, Attorney Lumumba is much sought after as a keynote speaker. His international reputation has prompted speaking engagements in many international arenas. He has delivered speeches on the Afrikan continent, and in Canada, the Caribbean, and South America. He has delivered presentations at many prestigious universities across the nation, including Harvard University, University of Michigan, and Columbia University. He has also addressed such august groups as the DeKalb Lawyer’s Association, the National Bar Association’s Black Judges Caucus, and the Loyola University School of Law in New Orleans. Locally, he is consistently asked to address local churches, community organizations, and schools. He has served as keynote speaker for Black History Month programs sponsored by the Jackson State University Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, the Student Government Association of Tougaloo College, and St. Mary’s Elementary School. Most recently, Lumumba served as the keynote speaker at Adhiambo, a local independent school’s Annual Black History Program.

In addition to all of his demonstrated commitment to his profession and to the struggle, Lumumba is dedicated to his immediate and extended family, and to the community. Attorney Lumumba is quite accomplished in this area as well. He is the proud parent of three children, and with the assistance of his recently deceased wife, Nubia Alake Lumumba, provided a sterling example of a strong Black family. Their marriage was the subject of an Essence article in the early 1990's, where the couple talked about the importance of family and their struggle to keep their family together. They talked about the need for loving relationships between Black men, women, and children and how our liberation depends on our ability to build strong family units. Lumumba continues to promote the strengthening of the Black family in his late wife’s absence, and continues to be a source of inspiration and strength for his family and the Black community. Kambon Mutope, the oldest child, currently resides in Atlanta. Rukia Kai, a former Miss Tougaloo College is currently a 3rd year law student at Howard University. Chokwe Antar is a senior honor student at Tuskegee University in Alabama.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

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