Political Icon, Elijah Cummings, Dies at 68

(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Elijah E. Cummings, the Democratic congressman from Maryland who gained national attention for his principles and stance against issues in Washington, his work on police brutality, and his forceful opposition to the presidency of Donald Trump, died Oct. 17 at a hospice center in Baltimore. He was 68.

Elijah Cummings has never wavered, never faltered, and never took one step backwards in his defense of the Constitution and the rule of law. Cummings was known for his blunt, passionate — and sometimes intimidating — observations during committee hearings. He was one who didn’t hesitate to tell folks off when he thought they were dodging his questions either.

 (Photo by Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images)

Cummings clashed with the Trump administration over a number of issues, including the high cost of prescription drugs, a longtime concern of his. His committee engaged in a protracted court fight with the administration over subpoenas — challenged by the president — of Trump’s personal and financial records.

Cummings, who had been absent from Capitol Hill in recent weeks, had health issues in recent years. In 2017, he underwent an aortic valve replacement. The procedure, which aides described as minimally invasive in Cummings’ case, is used to correct narrowing of the aortic valve in the heart. The surgery led to an infection that kept him in the hospital longer than expected. He was later hospitalized for a knee infection, but he said this summer that his health was fine.

Born to a family of Southern sharecroppers and Baptist preachers, Mr. Cummings grew up in the racially fractured Baltimore of the 1950s and 1960s. At 11, he helped integrate a local swimming pool while being attacked with bottles and rocks. “Perry Mason,” the popular TV series about a fictional defense lawyer, inspired him to enter the legal profession.

Cummings often told the story of how his mother had witnessed Americans harmed and beaten while seeking the right to vote.’

“Her last words were ‘Do not let them take our votes away from us,’” he said.

In the Maryland House of Delegates, he became the youngest chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus and the first…

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