The city of Jackson has an acting mayor today. This is after first-term mayor chokwe lumumba died in a Jackson Hospital yesterday.
Jackson residents are mourning the death of Mayor Chokwe Lumumba today. As MPB's Paul Boger reports city officials are now tasked with setting a special election date to select a new mayor.
"I, Charles Tillman, do solemnly swear or affirm that I will faithfully support the constitution of the United States. . ."
Just hours after the passing of Chokwe Lumumba, City Council President Charles Tillman was sworn in as acting-mayor of Jackson. Chokwe Lumuba died yesterday around 5pm at Saint Dominic's Hospital.Tillman says Lumumba was doing the city a lot of good, and he will be missed.
"We would like to give our condolences and thank the family for letting him serve the city, and serve with us." said Tillman. Although it was short, we were moving this city forward in a very transparent way. We was all excited about that."
Lumumba's son, Chokwe Antar, spoke to reporters about his father's pride in his service to the city.
"I thank you for giving my father the opportunity to serve this city." said Lumumba. "It gave him great joy. He has enjoyed working for you. My father dedicated his life to service and to working on behalf of all people in serving the interest of justice. At this time we ask that you respect the wishes of the family and give us an opportunity to grieve and to put everything in order."
Jackson residents are also taking the time to grieve. Sherry Boyer and Dorothy Triplet were at Saint Dominic's Hospital after Lumumba's death. They say they're saddened by the mayor's sudden passing.
"I am absolutely devastated for our city." said Boyer. "I was a late convert -- I will say that, but after I began to read about him and to see some of the forward progress we had in our city, I'm very sad."
"My first thought was for his family; my second thought was for city." said Triplet. "He was the people's mayor he listened. He liestened to everybody."
The city council is now tasked with the implementation of a special election to choose a new mayor. Under state law the council has 30 to 45 days to set the election for a new mayor. Council member Melvin Priester believes whoever takes over for Lumumba will have big shoes to fill.
"He was a very great intellectual, a political activist for the people -- all people." said Priester. "His work was tremendous, and he was very sincere about it."
Lumumba is the second Jackson mayor to die while serving. In June 2009, Mayor Frank Melton died while unsuccessfully seeking re-election.