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Politician, activist, spiritual healer, the voice of inner-city Baltimore and civil rights proponent Elijah Cummings is dead at the age of 68.
Cummings’ death is a huge blow to Black political advocacy in America. He fought tirelessly for a better Baltimore, constantly working to remove the chains of poverty, violence, pessimism, drug addiction, police corruption, miseducation and oppression that plagued his constituency.
One of the last public events for @RepCummings in West #Baltimore – a park dedication that had once been a vacant lot. Cummings died overnight at #JohnsHopkinsHospital at the age of 68 #HouseOversightCommittee #Cummings #ElijahCummings @wbalradio pic.twitter.com/i8XuJf8F5y
— Phil Yacuboski (@WBALPhil) October 17, 2019
More importantly, at this time, he was also the Democratic Chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee as one of three panelists leading an impeachment inquiry into corrupt President Donald Trump.
Breaking: U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, a longtime Baltimore Democrat, has died. https://t.co/hQm4N5yWh3
— The Baltimore Sun (@baltimoresun) October 17, 2019
Cummings’ office released a statement, saying, “At approximately 2:30 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019, Congressman Elijah E. Cummings (MD-07) passed away at Gilchrist Hospice Care, a Johns Hopkins affiliate, due to complications concerning long-standing health challenges. More details will be forthcoming.”
Cummings’ widow, Maryland Democratic Party Chair Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, released a statement, saying:
“Congressman Cummings was an honorable man who proudly served his district and the nation with dignity, integrity, compassion, and humility. He worked until his last breath because he believed our democracy was the highest and best expression of our collective humanity and that our nation’s diversity was our promise, not our problem. It has been an honor to walk by his side on this incredible journey. I loved him deeply and will miss him dearly.”
In an exclusive interview with 11 News’ Deborah Weiner in February, Cummings said he believes his leading the committee during the Michael Cohen hearing would mark his legacy.
Cummings was a fixture in Maryland politics and carried a reputation as a no-nonsense, political pugilist who was widely recognized across the country.
He was one of many brave politicians who challenged Donald Trump’s blatant mishandling of America’s affairs and became a target of one of the President’s classic demeaning, racist and divisive rants.
We can’t forget this Twitter masterpiece of juvenile hate and race-baiting by the President one early morning in July of 2019:
“Rep. Elijah Cummings has been a brutal bully, shouting and screaming at the great men & women of Border Patrol about conditions at the Southern Border, when actually his Baltimore district is FAR WORSE and more dangerous. His district is considered the Worst in the USA.
“As proven last week during a Congressional tour, the border is clean, efficient & well run, just very crowded. Cumming (sic) district is a disgusting, rat- and rodent-infested mess. If he spent more time in Baltimore, maybe he could help clean up this very dangerous & filthy place.
“Why is so much money sent to the Elijah Cummings’ district when it is considered the worst run and most dangerous anywhere in the United States? No human being would want to live there. Where is all this money going? How much is stolen? Investigate this corrupt mess immediately!”
America has lost a strong advocate for people of color, the disenfranchised and the oppressed. A Black man who stood on the right side of the law and fought to keep the playing field at least somewhat balanced for African-Americans. While other lawmakers of color were caught in scandals and accused of corruption, Cummings honorably represented his district, which encompasses Baltimore City and Howard County.
The son of Pentecostal ministers, Cummings last great quote…his last sagacious words of wisdom for our country came in February when he expressed the feelings of a nation:
“I will pray that God takes us to a higher ground,” Cummings said in February.
May his spirit and the foundation he laid still shine a favorable light on this impeachment process.