Last Thursday morning, the nation was awakened to unspeakable grief that caught us all by surprise. I have said it before and I’ll say it again; while we all have experienced sudden loss of friends and loved ones, few deaths shake us to our very core. The passing of Elijah Eugene Cummings (D–MD 7th District) did just that; the news rendered us deeply heartbroken and grappling for words. The Shiloh family joins millions around this nation and the world in mourning the loss of this fearless and courageous pillar who towered in the U. S. House of Representatives.
A man of humble beginnings, Rep. Cummings rose to political power and national significance in 1996 in a special election to succeed five-term Congressman for Maryland’s 7th congressional district, Kweisi Mfume, who resigned in February 1996 to take the presidency of the NAACP. Mr. Cummings was reelected 11 more times since then. His reelections were borne out of his love and compassion for the people of the city of his birth, Baltimore, where he resided at his death. Mr. Cummings proudly went home to his District every day. “He was in it for the people…” exclaimed Shauntee Daniels, executive director of the Baltimore National Heritage Area. He used his political influence, big personality, and robust but passionate voice to serve the people of his hometown, but since the “election” of Donald Trump, Mr. Cummings “made no bones” about his contempt for the president. At his death, the Congressman served as Chair of the powerful House Oversight and Reform Committee; on the Committee, Mr. Cummings was a key figure in the impeachment inquiry of the president.
Mr. Cummings’ Committee assignments, Caucus memberships, and legislative records were many, and are praise worthy. We are grateful to the Congressman for his courage and dedicated service to the citizens of Baltimore and to our country.
There is a “little less grace in the world,” with the passing of the longtime Maryland Democrat who championed and advocated for civil rights. The nation grieves a great loss. In the words of the late Michael Jackson, “…like the loss of sunlight, on a cloudy afternoon, Gone Too Soon…” As the Shiloh family lifts the Congressman’s family in prayer, we thank him for his service. Rest in peace.