Rest in Power: Maryland mourns Rep. Elijah Cummings

Many Baltimore residents have their own stories about the late U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, the civil rights advocate and towering presence in Maryland and national politics whose devotion to his city and its people endured until this death Thursday, reports Colin Campbell for the Sun. His constituents mourned his death after waking to the news — some calling into radio stations in tears, while others reflected on the loss his death represents to the city, state, and country.

  • As this city has endured a litany of political and police corruption scandals in recent years, Cummings, 68, distinguished himself as the rare local leader whom many residents felt they could still trust, reports Paul Schwartzman for the Post. During crises, he had the capacity to express the city’s anguish with eloquence and passion, his presence a measure of reassurance to many who worried that chaos was overwhelming Baltimore.
  • Cummings was a “fighter” and a “true hero,” whose loyalty and visibility in his district areas did not go unnoticed by Howard County elected officials, reports Jess Nocera for the Howard County Times. On Friday evening, county leaders will gather for a vigil to honor Cummings in Ellicott City.
  • The Baltimore Democrat had a penchant for cutting through the mealy-mouthed equivocating of Washington and unleashing fiery blasts of plain-spoken condemnation, reports Fern Shen in Baltimore Brew.
  • Baltimore broadcaster Mark Steiner remembers Cummings as a man of the community, and shares a story about how he must have met him in 1962 when Steiner, then 16, demonstrated to protect African American children integrating a Baltimore city pool. Cummings was one of the children at the pool. They became friendly when they met years later in the 1980s.
  • Cummings was born, lived and died a Baltimorean, writes Micha Green in the Afro, where Cummings wrote a regular column. The night before he died, the Afro attended the National Coalition of Black Civil Participation Spirit of Democracy Awards, where he was to be honored.
  • U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin and U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes speak with WYPR-FM’s Tom Hall live from Capitol Hill to reflect on Cummings’ his life and work.
  • And far from his district, Western Marylanders fondly remembered Cummings on Thursday as a kind lawmaker who was influential on both sides of the political aisle, reports the Cumberland Times-News.
  • Funeral plans were incomplete Thursday, but Bishop Walter Thomas said he expects services to be held in New Psalmist Baptist Church’s 4,000-seat sanctuary, report the Sun’s Jonathan M. Pitts and Pamela Wood. Cummings attended the church for nearly 40 years. Thomas predicted the church would be overflowing.
  • Cummings clashed with President Donald Trump, but on Thursday Trump called him a “highly respected political leader,” in a tweet offering condolences, reports Lillian Reed for the Sun.
  • In addition to his political legacy, Cummings helped open up more opportunities for both black lawyers and judges in Maryland, reports Louis Krauss in The Daily Record.