Thursday, October 17, 2019
Human rights leader, Congressman Elijah Cummings, died on October 17th. Congressman Cummings was the son of sharecroppers who never lost his compassion for the marginalized. As a young boy, he was one of the children who attempted to swim in the Baltimore city pools. He was spat on and attacked. But the pools were integrated. Mr. Cummings' courage was a hallmark of his character. His adherence to his principles was constant and unwavering.
He credited watching Perry Mason with his decision to go to law school. The Washington Post reported that Mr. Cummings witnessed many boys in his neighborhood being sent to reform school. "Though I didn’t completely know what reform school was, I knew that Perry Mason won a lot of cases. I also thought that these young men probably needed lawyers.”
Mr. Cummings was fearless in condemning police brutality against young black me and gave the eulogy at Freddie Gray's funeral. “I’ve often said, our children are the living messages we send to a future we will never see. But now our children are sending us to a future they will never see! There’s something wrong with that picture!”
And Mr. Cummings was the first to attempt to calm demonstrators when their actions led to violence in protest of Freddie's death.
A great human being has passed. His courage and humanity defined him as did his moral commitment to doing what is right. No matter what our political allegiance, we must acknowledge that the sort of courage displayed by Mr. Cummings is rare, and now even rarer.