Political leaders do more than make their messages known. They’re the ones who are fighting for change, connecting with people of all backgrounds along the way. Elijah Cummings was one of the most influential political trailblazers of the 21st century. Though he died in 2019, his legacy lives on through his work and the movements he empowered.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Who Was Elijah Cummings?
- Elijah Cummings’ Funeral Service
- How and Where Was Elijah Cummings Buried?
- How Did People Grieve and Memorialize Elijah Cummings?
- Honoring Elijah Cummings After Death
United States Representative Elijah Cummings passed away in October of 2019 at age 68. Throughout his life, he fought for racial and economic equality for all. His funeral was a celebration of his life and his accomplishments.
Though he didn’t gain much recognition on a national scale until his final years, his words and actions impacted many around the globe. Like all celebrity deaths, many of his constituents and supporters felt their own grief after his loss.
His funeral wasn’t open to the public, but it’s still possible to know what Elijah Cumming’s funeral and burial were like. By learning more about this special day, we get a sense of peace and closure though we might not have known Cummings personally.
Who Was Elijah Cummings?
Before we can discuss his funeral, we must first recognize Elijah Cummings for his successful career and lifetime of accomplishments. He is most known for his role within the U.S. House of Representatives, where he acted as the chair of the House Oversight Committee.
Cummings began his career as a lawmaker who represented many communities in Baltimore in the 1990s. He strongly believed in lowering the cost of prescription drugs, reducing rates of addiction, criminal justice reform, and strengthening gun control to keep citizens safe.
He gained national recognition with his role as the House Oversight Committee. Here, he spoke actively against the president at the time, President Donald Trump, and he also sought justice for racial violence. During the early days of the Black Lives Matter movement, he supported protestors and fought for their safety. He was a proponent of Rest in Power and other fights for change.
After his death, many members of the U.S. Congress spoke openly about their grief. Rep. Mark Meadows, one of his closest friends on the opposite end of the political spectrum, wrote his condolences on Twitter. He said, “There was no stronger advocate and no better friend than Elijah Cummings.” These sentiments were expressed far and wide, and his funeral was an opportunity to honor this man’s long and successful career.
Elijah Cummings’ Funeral Service
After long-standing health complications, Cummings passed away in Baltimore at age 68. After his death, many of his supporters and colleagues wished to honor his life and his legacy through a funeral and memorial service. Like other celebrity funerals, some aspects were open to the public, while others were reserved for the family.
Cummings’ funeral took place in his hometown of Baltimore, Maryland. There was also an earlier service held at the U.S. Congress building. The Congress service was only open to his colleagues, political leaders, and his staff.
The service in Baltimore was hosted at New Psalmist Baptist Church, Cummings’ hometown church, where he used to attend service every Sunday. It was held on a Friday in October 2019, and this service was open to some of the world’s biggest leaders, his family, and even everyday folks.
The choice in funeral songs often says a lot about the individual’s life. For Elijah Cummings funeral, there was a performance by gospel star BeBe Winans. He performed with a full choir.
The music was reminiscent of Cummings’ Baptist upbringing, and it emphasized his devotion to his faith. The main performance was to the song “Stand,” and it was a highly emotional tribute to a life of putting others first.
Elijah Cummings’ funeral was attended by thousands of mourners. His funeral drew people from all political parties and walks of life. There were both everyday people from Baltimore and the world’s greatest leaders, all together to support one man’s ongoing legacy. His family was also there, and his wife, Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, gave a moving speech about his final struggles.
Amongst the attendees were some esteemed speakers. Former presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton gave moving speeches about Cummings’ devotion to his country and progress. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke on Cummings’ fight against corruption, drawing upon the Bible to compare his struggles.
How and Where Was Elijah Cummings Buried?
Since he had such a love for his city, it’s no surprise that Cummings is buried in Baltimore. His grave is located in Loudon Park Cemetery. He was buried after his funeral with a small graveside service. His grave is simple, only featuring a small marker that hardly sums up his lifetime of achievements. However, it’s this humble appearance that represents his service to his country.
His marker features an eagle in flight, a symbol of national pride. Aside from his name, there is a brief epitaph. It reads, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” Though his life might be over, his work still lives on each and every day.
How Did People Grieve and Memorialize Elijah Cummings?
After his death, the entire country mourned the loss of Elijah Cummings. Not only did thousands of mourners attend his funeral service in Baltimore, but many created their own memorials in his honor both in-person and online.
Twitter and other social media websites trended his story, many supporters sharing their own moving tributes to his life of service. His friends, family, and colleagues, even those with opposing political views, spoke openly about his kindness, his faith, and his legacy.
On his grave, mourners brought flowers, wreaths, candles, and other tributes. He might be gone, but he is far from forgotten. Since his passing, movements like Black Lives Matter have only gained more attention. More and more people from all walks of life are continuing the fight for racial equality in his honor, and this is something that would have made him proud.
Honoring Elijah Cummings After Death
Rep. Elijah Cummings’ life is an inspiration for many. His service and continued support for the causes he believed in are a powerful testament to innovation and progress. Though he’s no longer around to continue his work, many have taken on this burden in his honor. His legacy is wide-reaching, and that’s clear in the size of his funeral and memorial service.
Politicians might only serve for a short while, but their impact lives on beyond these years. Cummings was one of the key fighters for racial injustice and change at a time when this was uncommon. He continued this work through the end of his life, and that’s something to be celebrated even after death.
With some of the most prominent figures in politics admiring his service, his faith, and his work, it’s obvious that his legacy is bigger than life itself. Though life might be short, Cummings is proof that it’s how we use our time that truly matters.
- Bogel-Burroughs. “Elijah Cummings’s Funeral Draws Presidents and Thousands of Mourners.” The New York Times. 25 October 2019. NYTimes.com.
- “Elijah Eugene Cummings.” Find a Grave. FindaGrave.com.
- Pramuk, Jacob. “A look back at Elijah Cummings’ legacy – a black political trailblazer who took on Trump.” CNBC. 17 October 2019. CNBC.com.