Sunday, March 9, 2014

Who Murdered Chokwe Lumumba? Farrakhan, Others See Foul Play in Death of ’60s New Afrika Radical Turned Mississippi Mayor

The specter of assassination has been raised in the death on February 25th of Chokwe Lumumba, the 1960s-era Black separatist militant who became mayor of Jackson, Mississippi, in the last year of his life.  (See the report on his death from this blog.)

On March 2nd it was reported that the supervisor of Hinds County, Mississippi, Kenny Stokes, says he believes Lumumba was murdered and wants an autopsy performed.  (Jackson is the seat of Hinds County as well as the state capital.)  At a local event, Stokes stated publicly, “We gonna ask a question: who killed the mayor?  We’d feel a lot better if there was an autopsy.  First they say it’s not a heart attack and not a stroke, then what was it?  You don’t just die like that and you’re healthy.”  Afterward, he told a reporter, “So many of us feel, throughout the city of Jackson, that the mayor was murdered.  I’m not going to sugar coat it.”  (Watch a video of Stokes’s statements here.)

Sharon Grisham-Stewart, the Hinds County coroner, had declared Lumumba’s death to be from natural causes, though would not elaborate for reasons of privacy.  Previously, the mayor, who was 66 when he died, had battled cancer, but Stokes emphasizes what he calls conflicting statements from authorities and the fact that Lumumba was feeling fine shortly before his death.

Jackson police say they have seen no cause to investigate any possible foul play.  But Stokes’s suspicions are echoed by Louis Farrakhan, leader and “prophet” of the Nation of Islam (N.O.I.), who said he would pay for an autopsy.  Farrakhan stated during his annual Savior’s Day address, “Chokwe, I’ve known him for nearly 40 years.  ...  And he died under circumstances that we don’t know what it was.  He became the mayor of Jackson, Mississippi.  And any of you who know Mississippi and know Jackson—a Black man being mayor and trying to do right by all the people is not a mayor that those people want.  He was in the hospital.  He was on the phone doing mayoral business.  He was laughing.  He was in good spirits and within a few hours, he was dead.  ... Medical examiners—we can’t trust them when our babies are dead and they make it seem as if it were under ‘natural circumstances.’  They lie to protect the government.  We have to have our own independent pathologists and whatnot to look after us, so I understand they’re trying to raise the money.  I told them don’t even waste time, call me.  I will give you whatever it takes to get our own forensic specialist to go in and make sure that our brother died under the right circumstances.”

Louis Farrakhan
The Nation of Islam is classified by the Southern Poverty Law Center (S.P.L.C.) as a hate group.  Farrakhan, who believes that he has been contacted by extraterrestrials and that whites and Jews were created in a breeding experiment by a Black mad scientist in ancient Greece, has in the past praised Adolf Hitler at length, called Judaism a “gutter religion,” and asserted that crack cocaine was invented by the federal government and introduced into the ghettoes in the 1980s as a direct response to his own popularity.  He also believes in an active secret plot to recruit a Muslim to assassinate President Barack Obama.

The five states of the proposed Republic of New Afrika
Lumumba, who was born Edwin Finley Talafierro in Detroit, Michigan, served as minister of justice in the provisional government of the Republic of New Afrika (R.N.A.), a radical Black nationalist group which aimed to create a separate nation-state for African-Americans out of five states in the Deep South.  The group (which did not share N.O.I.’s anti-Semitism or other extreme views) was targeted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I.), but Lumumba was absent from the heavily-armed R.N.A. “government” headquarters in Jackson when they were raided by the authorities in 1971 and so escaped prosecution, unlike his comrades.  Later, he became a prominent civil-rights attorney, whose clients included the rapper Tupac Shakur.

Flag of the Republic of New Afrika
Lumumba’s son, Chokwe Antar Lumumba, and daughter, Rukia Lumumba, seemed to leave open the possibility of murder in their own statement released to the press on March 3rd, but he was careful not to echo Stokes’s air of certainty.  “We know that our father was loved and appreciated by many and a number of people both in Jackson and around the world have inquired into the manner of his death,” the younger Lumumba said.  “At this time, there has been no information provided to the family other than that provided at the time of his death by the doctors.  The family will explore all possible causes of his death.”

Lumumba with his son Chokwe Antar and daughter Rukia when he was elected mayor last year
[For those who are wondering, yes, this blog is tied in with a forthcoming book, a sort of encyclopedic atlas to be published by Auslander and Fox under the title Let’s Split! A Complete Guide to Separatist Movements, Independence Struggles, Breakaway Republics, Rebel Provinces, Pseudostates, Puppet States, Tribal Fiefdoms, Micronations, and Do-It-Yourself Countries, from Chiapas to Chechnya and Tibet to Texas.  Look for it some time in 2014.  I will be keeping readers posted of further publication news.]

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