HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » Elijah Cummings Was Not D...

Sat Oct 19, 2019, 12:21 PM

Elijah Cummings Was Not Done


October 18, 2019 1:55PM ET
Elijah Cummings Was Not Done
The House Oversight chairman died too soon at 68, while working on his deathbed to ensure this country measured up to his standards
By Jamil Smith

Even with the deaths of our elders today and the 400th anniversary of chattel slavery, we are often reminded that this terrible American past is within the reach of our oral, recorded history. Elijah Cummings, who died Thursday at 68, was the grandson of sharecroppers, the black tenant farmers who rented land from white owners after the Civil War.

Cummings once recounted to 60 Minutes that, when he was sworn into Congress in 1996 following a special election in Maryland’s 7th District, his father teared up. A typical, uplifting American story would be a son talking about his dad’s pride at such a moment, and there was that. But Cummings’ father, Ron, also asked him a series of questions.

Isn’t this the place where they used to call us slaves? “Yes, sir.”

Isn’t this the place where they used to call us three-fifths of a man? “Yes, sir.”

Isn’t this the place where they used to call us chattel? “Yes, sir.”

Then Ron told his son Elijah, according to the story: Now I see what I could have been had I had an opportunity. Forget the Horatio Alger narratives; that is a story of generational ascendance that actually sounds relatable to me as someone who has grown up black in America.


Cummings was, as his widow, Maryland Democratic Party chairwoman Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, put it in her statement, working “until his last breath.” In a memo just last week, as he was ailing, Cummings stated he planned to subpoena both acting USCIS Director Ken Cuccinelli and acting ICE Director Matthew Albence to testify on October 17, the day he would later pass away. (Both men agreed to testify, voluntarily, but the hearing has been postponed until the 24th.)

Cummings also signed two subpoenas driven to him in Baltimore hours before his death, both dealing with the Trump administration’s coldhearted policy change to temporarily end the ability for severely ill immigrants to seek care in the United States.

One of the young immigrant patients who had testified to a House Oversight subcommittee about this draconian Trump measure, a Honduran teenager named Jonathan Sanchez, told the assembled lawmakers, simply, “I don’t want to die.”

Cummings knew all too well that this is a country that kills people with its racism, and saw this president trying to do it. He went to his deathbed trying to change that America. His untimely death left that work undone, but that task is ours now.

3 replies, 470 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 3 replies Author Time Post
Reply Elijah Cummings Was Not Done (Original post)
babylonsister Oct 19 OP
demtenjeep Oct 19 #1
babylonsister Oct 19 #3
MontanaMama Oct 19 #2

Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sat Oct 19, 2019, 12:24 PM

1. I heard he was in a wheelchair? I had no idea he was ill

what was he suffering from?

Here I was worried about Nadler.

My heart broke when I heard of Cummings passing. Little did we know he would be "dancing with the angels" and lifting high his cause of protecting America's democracy

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to demtenjeep (Reply #1)

Sat Oct 19, 2019, 12:47 PM

3. I heard that, too. I know he

had heart problems, and was in hospice when he died, but don't know much else.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sat Oct 19, 2019, 12:25 PM

2. ...

Would could hardly afford to lose this man.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread