Oct 7 7:15 PM

Is Chokwe Lumumba the most radical elected official in America?

Rogelio V. Solis/AP

Fifty years ago, the world's attention was on Mississippi as the struggle for civil rights heated up across the state.

As Adam May reports, veterans of the civil rights movement are celebrating the election of Jackson’s new mayor. Chokwe Lumumba is a human rights lawyer, has a radical past and speaks openly of revolution. He also won 87 percent of the vote.

Now that he's in office, Lumumba said he wants to bring more economic fairness to his city, which is one of the poorest in the country. He has plans to "insource" more jobs to Jackson and overhaul how the city works with minority-owned business contractors.

On the national level, Mayor Lumumba said he's one of the people who made it possible for Barack Obama to be elected president, but thinks the president is being too conservative. The mayor said the president should address historical and continuing discrimination against blacks.

"He should be talking about reparations," Lumumba said. "And I know that people think that that's ridiculous in some respects, but it's not ridiculous. You know you can't kick around, go around here having everybody have collection agencies working on deadbeats, and at the same time you have a whole people who have been deprived of their rights for so long and who, who, who's place in society has been determined based upon those deprivations."

James Hendrix is a radio host and blogger who speaks to a more conservative audience. Hendrix said he has a big problem with Lumumba's past advocacy for black Americans to form their own country, but said the mayor could neutralize fears about his radical past if he succeeds.

"Right now people just want the roads fixed, they want the schools fixed, they want the crime fixed," Hendrix said, "and if he can do all those three, I suspect most of them won't even care about the rest."


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