Thousands of people crowded the Carl J. Murphy Fine Arts Center at Morgan State University to pay their respects and say their final goodbyes to the late Congressman Elijah Cummings on Wednesday, October 23, 2019. Cummings sat on Morgan’s Board of Regents for 19 years. Family members said it was his desire to have a community homegoing at Morgan to give the public a chance to say goodbye.
“I was used to seeing Congressman Cummings every Sunday at New Psalmist Baptist Church, and he was always very passionate, and compassionate,” said Jeffrey Wright, fraternity brother and friend. “He was a big part of Baltimore City as far as upliftment, achievement, and hopefulness. He always had a kind word, inspiring, and a great role model for all people in Baltimore City, especially African American men in Baltimore.”
As early as 7:00 a.m., supporters, friends, students, and the community of Baltimore awaited the arrival of the late Rep. Cummings. The public filed into the auditorium to view the body during the 12-hour public salute. Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young was among the mourners. After the public viewing, a memorial service was held from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. which featured tributes from fraternal organizations,
Morgan’s choir, community leaders, friends, and elected officials. Twenty-seven speakers praised Rep. Cummings’s life of service.
“Elijah Cummings was a great leader, he always had my back and he had yours too!” said former U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski during her speech. Mikulski said Cummings was not only her colleague, but also her lifelong friend.
Many spoke about Representative Cummings not just as a political figure but also as a neighborhood guy who dedicated his career to bettering Baltimore.
“Congressman Cummings was more than a congressman, more than a political figure. He was a man of the people. He was an advocate and enthusiast for our people,” said Darryl Perry, a resident of Maryland 7th Congressional District. He was an inspiration for a widespread and diversified group of people and whether you knew him directly or not, he still played an intricate role in your life given his outreach and community ties that more than likely impacted directly someone you know personally.”
Cummings was appointed to the MSU Board of Regents in July 1999. He chaired the board’s Audit and Institutional Assessment Committee for five years. He was a member of the board’s Academic and Student Affairs Committee. Students said he was a well-known figure on campus, known for his dedication to civil rights.
“Congressman Cummings was a man full of wisdom, of integrity, of courage, and of faith. Many people speak to their people but a man of his caliber was able to relate. It was always on display through his actions,” said Jayrell Cephas, a Morgan student. “That same man with his voice, found a way to still allow the concerns and potential of his people to reverberate through the masses of this country.”
Morgan’s president, Dr. David Wilson said in a statement that, “Beyond serving on the University’s Board of Regents, Rep. Cummings was not only a dear friend to Morgan, he was family. His wisdom, wise counsel and superb leadership will be greatly missed.”
Rep. Cummings passed away early Thursday, October 17, 2019 in Baltimore due to long standing health issues. The Morgan service was one of three services in Baltimore and Washington, D.C. saluting his life.
He was 68.