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NAACP Mourns Passing of Jackson, Miss., Mayor

James Wright | 3/2/2014, 1:38 p.m.
NAACP interim President and CEO Lorraine C. Miller joined civil and political leaders across the country in mourning the death ...
Chokwe Lumumba (Courtesy photo)

NAACP interim President and CEO Lorraine C. Miller joined civil and political leaders across the country in mourning the death of Jackson, Miss., Mayor Chokwe Lumumba.

Lumumba, 66, died of heart failure on Feb. 25. He was the second black elected mayor of Jackson, once a bastion of racial segregation and now is predominantly black. Lumumba had a legendary legal career in Michigan and Mississippi, once convincing Republican Gov. Haley Barbour to release two sisters who served 16 years in prison for a crime they did not commit.

Lumumba once served as the vice president of The Republic of New Afrika, an organization that wanted an independent black-majority country based in the Southeast United States. He was elected mayor of Jackson in May after serving four years as a councilman.

Miller, a District resident and the first female to serve as the clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives, said that Lumumba made a difference in Mississippi's largest city and capital.

"This is a devastating loss for the people of Jackson and the civil rights community nationwide," Miller said. "Mayor Lumumba had a long history as a front-line advocate for justice and was instrumental in the effort to free the Scott Sisters. He will be truly missed."