Maryland Representative Elijah E. Cummings, 68, died early Thursday at Johns Hopkins Hospital due to complications from longstanding health challenges, his congressional office said in a statement.
Elijah Eugene Cummings (January 18, 1951 – October 17, 2019) was an American politician and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for Maryland’s 7th congressional district. The district includes just over half of Baltimore City, most of the majority-black precincts of Baltimore County, as well as most of Howard County. He previously served in the Maryland House of Delegates. He was a member of the Democratic Party and chair of the Committee on Oversight and Reform.
Cummings was born on January 18, 1951, in Baltimore, the son of Ruth Elma (née Cochran) and Robert Cummings. He was the third child of seven. Cummings graduated with honors from the Baltimore City College high school in 1969.
He later attended Howard University in Washington, D.C., where he served in the student government as sophomore class president, student government treasurer and later student government president. He became a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society and graduated in 1973 with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science.
Cummings graduated from law school at the University of Maryland School of Law, receiving his J.D. in 1976, and was admitted to the Maryland Bar later that year. He practiced law for 19 years before first being elected to the House in the 1996 elections.
Cummings received 12 honorary doctoral degrees from universities across America, most recently an honorary doctorate of public service from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2017.
For 14 years, Cummings served in the Maryland House of Delegates. His predecessor, Lena King Lee, raised funds and campaigned for him; years later, Cummings credited her with launching his political career. In the Maryland General Assembly, he served as Chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland and was the first African American in Maryland history to be named Speaker Pro Tempore, the second-highest position in the House of Delegates.
Cummings also served on several boards and commissions, both in and out of Baltimore. Those include SEED Schools of Maryland Board of Directors and the University of Maryland Law School Board of Advisors.