Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba

February 16, 2022

Progressive Mississippi mayor to present Glassman Lecture

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Chokwe Antar Lumumba, an attorney and the progressive mayor of Jackson, Mississippi, will discuss his plans to revitalize that city based on a concept of “dignity economy” during a lecture next week at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Lumumba’s presentation, “From Exploitation to Empowerment: Lessons from Jackson, Mississippi, and the way forward,” is this spring’s Michael and Nancy Glassman Distinguished Lecture presented by the University Honors Program. The talk and reception is from 5-7 p.m. Feb. 24 in Morris Library’s John C. Guyon Auditorium.

The program will also be available for viewing via Zoom. The event is free and open to the public but those wishing to attend virtually must pre-register. People who want to attend in person must follow current campus and state pandemic safety protocols and wear masks in shared indoor spaces.

Believes in the city’s residents

Jyotsna Kapur, honors program director, noted that Lumumba has worked on several initiatives since winning his first mayoral election in 2017 followed in a June 2021 re-election. In developing a community in which self-determination is a fundamental right, Lumumba views self-determination as stemming from “a sense of security in community, ownership over work and wealth through cooperatives, hope in the future through building a zero-waste city and self-realization through access to education,” Kapur said.

Lumumba’s initiatives include re-energizing the city’s public school system, bringing 3D manufacturing to the city, collaborating with higher education institutions to develop a plan from prenatal care all the way to graduate school for children born in Jackson, multiyear budgets to meet the crisis created by 30 years of flash floods and COVID-19, and signing on to a carbon tax to address the climate crisis.

In fall 2020, Lumumba spoke to Kapur’s honors seminar. “He inspired us to change the world from where we stand and is a shining example of how to do it democratically and with love for your community,” Kapur said.

Youngest mayor in city history

Lumumba was 34 years old when he became the city’s 53rd mayor – the youngest in city history. He received a bachelor's degree from Tuskegee University and earned a law degree and certificate in sports and entertainment law from the Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Texas Southern University in Houston.

Lumumba has received several awards, including the National Black Caucus of State Legislators 2017 Nation Builder Award and the Frederick Douglass 200 Award in the area of politics.

Editor’s note: Chokwe Antar Lumumba is pronounced Show-quay Ann-tar La-moom-ba