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.”
|The five states of the proposed Republic of New Afrika|
|Flag of the Republic of New Afrika|
|Lumumba with his son Chokwe Antar and daughter Rukia when he was elected mayor last year|