Detroit City Councilman Kwame Kenyatta, who resigned in June after boycotting public meetings in protest of the state’s financial intervention, moved to the heartland of Mississippi to work for new Jackson Mayor Chokwe Lumumba, a Detroit native and outspoken advocate of black empowerment.
Kenyatta is serving as the mayor’s compliance officer, a watchdog position to ensure that any business, nonprofit or government agency doing work with the city does not discriminate based on race or gender.
The Old King Edward Hotel is beautifully renovated into downtown apartments and a new hotel.
The apartments are full.
The same is nearly true for the nearby Standard Life Building.
But other parts of the city are full of boarded up homes, particularly south Jackson.Councilman Kenneth Stokes thinks the election of black Mayor Harvey Johnson caused some of the "white flight".
"My position is because of a black man, black majority council - now I heard other people say because of crime, I heard everything from A through Z, but you have crime in New York City, you got crime in Chicago, you got crime everywhere," Councilman Stokes said.
Jackson Police Chief Robert Moore raised some eyebrows in February with the announcement of a new strike force team. He put the blame for skyrocketing crime in the capital city squarely on the shoulders of young African Americans.
"It appears we have a cancer within the black community," he said then. "These crimes have been committed by young black men and women."
Stinging words in the black community, but Chief Moore says they are based in fact. "When I raised the issue," he told WLBT, "I knew that it was going to cause some eyebrow raising, but I wanted it to."
Moore points to the capital city's murder statistics this year. All 17 homicides so far have been committed against African-Americans, by African-Americans.
He says it's not the first time he has tackled the controversial issue. As a deputy chief in Savannah, Georgia, nearly 20 years ago, he wrote nationally recognized reports on black-on-black crime and and implemented a plan of action.
"We call it the Savannah experience now," he says.
"I come from a time where there was a lot of tension between the community, especially the black community and the police," Lumumba said. "But now, you've had the demographics of the police department change, and the brothers and sisters and cousins and friends of the people in the community are the officers. We now have the ability to create really good relationships, but there's still a distance. There's still police officers that have that macho (mentality) and overstep their bounds, and there's still a lot of misbehavior in the community."