On Oct. 17, 2019, Maryland’s democratic congressman, Elijah Cummings, died at age 68 from long term health concerns. A celebration took place at Morgan State University on Oct. 23, following a memorial in the Capitol to remember the late activist.
His funeral was held at the New Psalmist Baptist Church, where he was a faithful member and worshipped for nearly forty years. Numerous sorrowful and crushed companions went to the burial service, including Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and previous Representative Kweisi Mfume. Rockeymoore Cummings and Cummings’ siblings and daughter were the main speakers at his burial services.
Cummings worked in the House for over two decades before he became ill. Recently, while working, Cummings made his way through the Capitol using a scooter and a walker. In 2017, he was hospitalized to have a heart valve replaced and admitted to the New York Times that he was living on “borrowed time.”
Elijah Cummings was born in Baltimore on Jan. 18, 1951. In his early years, Cummings was influenced by TV show “Perry Mason,” a show about a criminal defense lawyer, and was inspired to pursue a career in law. He graduated from Baltimore City College High School and earned his Bachelor’s degree from Howard University. After earning his Juris Doctorate degree at the University of Maryland School of Law, he had the opportunity to work as an attorney in Baltimore. In 1996, Cummings was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Over the years, Cummings gained the majority of national attention on his opinions on issues in the House, his impacts on the Baltimore Riots, objection to Trump’s presidency and serving as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s chief defender in 2015. Cummings was also acknowledged as the first African American man to fill the position of Speaker Pro Tempore. According to BallotPedia, in 2018, Elijah Cummings earned 76.4% of the votes in the General Election and 91.5% of votes in the Democratic Primary for the U.S. House Maryland District 7.
Cummings left behind a wife and daughter as well as a legacy as a congressman for Baltimore for over two decades, a champion for social justice, and a major activist in his community.