Congressman Kweisi Mfume (MD-07) announced on his website on January 17 that he has introduced a congressional resolution to honor the life and legacy of Congressman Elijah E. Cummings, by requesting the issuance of a United States Postal Service (USPS) commemorative stamp. Upon introduction, the bill has 49 original cosponsors in the United States House of Representatives.
In 1996, Mr. Cummings won the seat in the U.S. House of Representatives that Congressman Mfume vacated to become NAACP president, starting a 23-year career in Congress during which he advocated for all people, including lower-income and working-class Americans. In 2002, he became chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, where he pushed to increase funding for public education and the Head Start program.
“Working in conjunction with Elijah’s family, I am honored to introduce this legislation. I wanted to make sure that Elijah would be remembered and his work would not be forgotten. I am encouraged by the vast amount of support this effort has already received from those who knew Elijah or appreciate his legacy,” said Congressman Mfume in the public statement.
Elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in 1982, Mr. Cummings became the youngest Chair of the Legislative Black Caucus and the first African American elected speaker pro tem by the body, a permanent role in the Maryland House.
Congressman Cummings was born in Baltimore on January 18, 1951. His father worked at a chemical factory and his mother worked at a pickle factory and later as a maid while raising seven children. Both parents came from Southern sharecropping families.
“Dad would have been 72. While our family remains heartbroken he is no longer here with us, we have great pride in his congressional leadership, strong advocacy on behalf of the American people and efforts toward bipartisan consensus whenever agreement could be achieved. Those efforts were both exemplary and legendary. It is our family’s strong belief that his legacy is worthy of both national reflection and commemoration,” said Jennifer and Adia Cummings, daughters of the late-Congressman Elijah Cummings. “We thank Congressman Mfume, who was a dear friend of our father, for introducing this resolution today asking that the United States Postal Service issue a stamp and honor Congressman Cummings’ phenomenal legacy.”