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Elijah Cummings dies at the age of 68

Following a unspecified medical procedure, the Democratic leader did not return to his office this week, the Baltimore Sun reported. In a statement of his office it was said that he died because of "complications related to many years of health problems". Cummings was chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee and a leading figure in the investigation against Trump.

Born into a family Mr. Cummings grew up in the racially disordered Baltimore in the 1

950s and 1960s. At age 11 he helped to integrate a local swimming pool while being attacked with bottles and stones. "Perry Mason," the popular television series about a fictional defender, inspired him to join the bar.

"Many young men in my neighborhood wanted to reform the school," he told the East Texas Review. "Although I did not know exactly what reform school is, I knew that Perry Mason won many cases, and I also thought these young men probably needed lawyers."

In the Maryland House of Delegates, he was the youngest chairman of the legislature Black Caucus and the first African American to act as spokesperson for each Tempore, the member presiding over the spokesman's absence.

In 1996, he won the seat in the US House of Representatives, which Kweisi Mfume (D) released as NAACP President Mr. Cummings eventually served as chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus and as senior Democrat and then chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee.

He drew national attention as Chief Defender of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the 2015 Congressional hearings on her handling of the attack three years earlier, on US government facilities in Benghazi, Libya, which killed the US ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three more Americans.

He was "the epitome of the truth that comes to power," said Herbert C. Smith, a professor of political science at McDaniel College, Westminster, MD. "Cummings has never shied away from giving and taking very energetic."

The Death of Freddie Gray

Baltimore's plight influenced Mr. Cumming's life and work on Capitol Hill, a link exemplified by his reaction to the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray in April 2015 and the following following explosion of indignation.

Gray died of injuries when he drove in a police convoy that had a knife in his pocket and was arrested, improperly secured, that the police said was illegal. His death sparked turmoil in Baltimore, raising tensions nationwide about perceived racism and excessive violence in law enforcement agencies.

When Mr. Cummings spoke at the funeral, which lived near the place where Gray was arrested, he lamented the presence of media to document Gray's death without celebrating his life.

"Did you see him? Did you see him? "Mr. Cummings asked in his booming baritone. The church exploded with applause, and civil rights activist Jesse L. Jackson sat behind him in ecstasy. "Did you see him?"

"I've often said our children are the living messages we send to a future we'll never see," he said in a rising voice. "But now our children are sending us into a future they will never see! Something is wrong with this picture!

When the looting started a few hours after the funeral, Mr. Cummings rushed the case in earnest with a megaphone into a troubled area in West Baltimore. (Six police officers were charged with grave death, although the prosecution failed to convict.)

In the midst of the riot, he and a dozen other residents marched through the streets, arm in arm, singing "This Little Light of Me." "

Mr. Cummings was known for showing the same commitment in the house. On the megaphone he wore in West Baltimore was a gold label saying, "The gentleman will not give in." It was a gift from its Democratic colleagues, which was awarded after Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) Had silenced Mr. Cumming's microphone at a hearing on complaints in 2014 in which the Internal Revenue Service was wrongly opposed to conservative non-profit organizations.

While working in the House Select Committee in Benghazi, he conflicted with Chairman Trey Gowdy (RS.C.) during the Republican hearings as Gowdy Clinton over emails from Sidney Blumenthal, a longtime confidant of hers Mr. Cummings interjected, "Gentleman, give in! Lord, give in! You have made several inaccurate statements.

Later, when talking to reporters in the corridor, Mr. Cummings said his main purpose was not to defend Clinton, but to seek "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth."

] "Let the world see it," he said.

The experience did not seem to irritate Gowdy on Mr. Cummings.

"He's not politics, he's saying what he believes," Gowdy told Hill newspaper, "and you can tell those who say it because it's in a memo they got that morning and you can tell them who has it of their soul. And with Mr. Cummings it comes from his soul.

Dealing with Trump

The first two years of the Trump government in 2017 and 2018 were a torment for Mr. Cummings, who suffered from complications including heart surgery and political frustration.

Mr. Cummings said his efforts to work with Trump and members of the GOP majority in the house were unsuccessful. He said at lunch after Trump's inauguration and other meetings, he urged the president to pursue a policy that could unite the country and burn his legacy. The congressman said he stopped listening to Trump after a few promising meetings.

"If I had known then what I know now, I would not have had much hope," Mr. Cummings later remarked. "He is a man who often describes the truth as a lie and the lie as the truth."

A senior Democrat in the Board of Supervisors, Cummings became a leading voice against the Trump administration's efforts to add a citizenship issue. The 2020 census, an amendment criticized by critics, would deter the participation of documented and undocumented immigrants.

He was also a staunch opponent of an immigration policy that separated thousands of children from their parents after illegally crossing the South American border. He described the White House of Trump as inhumane in the use of "detention centers for children".

After Democrats gained control of the house in the midterm elections in November 2018, Mr. Cummings was appointed Chairman of the Board of Supervisors. He used to give further alarm signals. He opened investigations into security checks that were silenced by the White House for objections from officials and payments under the 2016 campaign to silence women claiming to have done business with Trump.

Mr. Cummings had a combative phase, but he was adept at calming inconstant situations, such as the sharp exchange between Rep. Mark Meadows (RN.C.) and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) During a February 2019 hearing. [19659002] The Supervision Committee witnessed Michael Cohen, Trump's former private lawyer, and accused Tlaib Meadows of having made a "racist" stunt by leaving behind a black woman, an administrative clerk. Meadows demanded that her words be removed from the record.

Mr. Cummings called Meadows "one of my best friends" and told Tlaib to say that she did not call Meadows a racist. The next day, the conservative Meadows and the liberal freshman Tlaib embraced in public.

Lawyer and Lawmaker

Elijah Eugene Cummings was born on January 18, 1951 in Baltimore. His father worked in a chemical plant, his mother in a cucumber factory and later as a maid, while she raised seven children. Both parents came from families in South Carolina. Although they had difficulty feeding their families, his parents could prepare apples and peaches and give half of the canned food to those in need.

The owner of a Baltimore drugstore, where Mr. Cummings worked, paid his application fee to Howard University, and while Mr. In his time as a Howard student, Cummings regularly sent him $ 10 saying "stay tuned."

Howard served as president of the Student Government and received a bachelor's degree in political science in 1973. Three years later, he studied law at the University of Maryland and spent nearly two decades practicing law, mainly in private practice, involving students in one hypothetical appeals filed pleadings and oral arguments.

In the Maryland House of Delegates, where Cummings served from 1983 to 1996, he campaigned for a ban on alcohol and tobacco advertising on inner-city billboards in Baltimore – the first ban of its kind in a major US city.

On Capitol Hill, Mr. Cummings belonged to the minority of MPs and Senators who voted against the approval of a military invasion of Iraq in 2002. The administration of President George W. Bush claimed after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, that Iraq continues to possess and develop weapons of mass destruction. Mr. Cummings said there was not enough evidence of such weapons to "send our young people to war and endanger their lives," an opinion that was supported by subsequent investigations.

Also in 2002, Mr. Cummings was elected Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, a position he used to demand more funding for public education and the Head Start program.

He was the only member of the House of Representatives delegation from Maryland to oppose the publication of the Starr Report Details of President Bill Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky, a White House intern.

His first marriage to Joyce Matthews ended in divorce after a long separation. In 2008, he married Maya Rockeymoore, a policy consultant. A complete list of survivors was not available immediately.

In the mid-1990s he had financial difficulties. He was sued by creditors and owed $ 30,000 in federal taxes, which he eventually paid. He told the Baltimore Sun that during his time as a congressman, he endured two winters without heat because he could not afford to repair his oven.

He said the money problems stem from his efforts to keep his law practice going for Congress and also from supporting his three children. "I have a moral conscience that is really central," he told the newspaper. "I have not asked the federal government or anyone else to do me a favor."

Mr. Cummings said he was considering running as a successor to Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), Who did not seek re-election in 2016, but decided that he would be needed in Baltimore to help the excited city.

Cummings, New Psalmist Baptist Church, Baltimore, said he was driven by his faith and convinced that history would recognize his determination to fight for what he believed was right.

"The city of Baltimore has more than a thousand monuments, and not a single monument was erected to commemorate a critic," he once said in a speech. "Each of the monuments was erected to remind someone who was heavily criticized.

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