Chokwe Lumumba, 66, Dies; Activist Who Became Mayor in Mississippi

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Chokwe Lumumba, a civil rights lawyer who once called for an independent black-majority country in the American Southeast before running for mayor of Jackson, Miss., last year, winning handily, died on Tuesday in Jackson. He was 66.

His family said the cause had not been determined.

As a political activist, Mr. Lumumba campaigned for the United States to pay billions of dollars to blacks as reparations for their ancestors’ enslavement.

As a lawyer, he helped the rapper Tupac Shakur in a successful effort to clear himself of assault charges in 1993; he persuaded Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi to release two sisters from a Mississippi prison in 1996 after they had served 16 years for an armed robbery that they said they had not committed; and he defended self-styled revolutionaries charged with robbing a Brinks armored car in 1981 in Rockland County, N.Y., and murdering three people in the process.

In Jackson, the state capital, Mr. Lumumba earned respect as a civic leader.

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