BALTIMORE, MD—Congressman and Civil Rights advocate Elijah Cummings passed away on Thursday, October 17 at Gilchrist Hospice Care in Baltimore, Maryland at the age of 68 due to complications concerning long-standing health challenges.
Congressman Cummings was known for many accomplishments, most recently for his role in the impeachment movement against President Donald Trump by demanding key documents and records be submitted for review.
Cummings grew up in Baltimore during the 1950s and 1960s, where his parents raised seven children. At the age of 11, he helped integrate a local swimming pool, while being hit with bottles and rocks in the process.
The future politician graduated from Howard University with a Bachelors Degree in Political Science in 1973 and earned his law degree from the University of Maryland in 1975. He practiced law for more than 20 years.
He became the youngest chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus and the first African-American to serve as Speaker Pro Tempore, which occurs in the case of the speakers absence. Congressman Cummings won the seat in US House of Representatives in 1996.
The death of 25 year-old African-American male, Freddie Gray, while in police custody, sparked outrage in Baltimore and riots ensued. Gray, who was taken into custody by the Baltimore Police Department for possessing what authorities claimed was an illegal knife under the states law, died one week after his arrest due to spinal cord injuries suffered while in transport. Cummings received media attention following his ability to calm the streets of Baltimore during rioting.
He also voiced his concerns regarding immigration policies that separated children from their parents when arriving to the United States illegally. As ranking democrat of the Oversight Committee, he became the leading voice against President Trump’s administration efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.
Cummings argued adding that citizenship question to the form would discourage participation from both documented and undocumented individuals. The first two years of the Trump administration left Cummings clashing with the Commander in Chief stating:
“Perhaps if I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t have had a lot of hope. He is a man who quite often calls the truth a lie and calls a lie the truth.”
In November 2018, as acting Chairman of the Oversight Committee, Cummings probed into payments Trump made during his 2016 campaign that were allegedly made to women who claimed to have had an affair with the President.
President Donald Trump sent out the following tweet on October 17, after the passing of Congressman Cummings that read:
“My warmest condolences to the family and many friends of Congressman Elijah Cummings. I got to see first hand the strength, passion and wisdom of this highly respected political leader. His work and voice on so many fronts will be very hard, if not impossible, to replace!”
During his 2017 surgery to repair his aortic valve, Cummings had an unknown medical procedure conducted this week. He is survived by his wife, Maya Rockeymoore, also an politician, his daughter from his first marriage, and his two children from prior relationships.