BALTIMORE (WJZ) — One of Rep. Elijah Cummings’ long-time friends remembers him as a man who lived and breathed his community.

Former Congressman and President of the National NAACP Kweisi Mfume said Cummings fought fearlessly for the things he believed in, and that it’s that example of fairness, compassion, and equality that defined him.

“Right now, it’s just a big hole, a big loss, and a sense of disbelief,” Mfume said.

Mfume describes the pain of losing his friend of 40 years.

“He has had the effect on people as a teacher often has on students,” Mfume said. “That you poor into what you do with all you have.”

Mfume served in Congress, representing Maryland’s 7th district for five terms before leaving the House to take over as President of the National NAACP.

He was hopeful that Cummings, then a Maryland State Delegate, would consider taking over his seat.

“[Cummings] said if I run, what you see is what you get, and I will always be here,” Mfume said. “He never left.”

Mfume says Cummings’ heart was always on Madison Ave., his home, in northwest Baltimore where flowers now adorn his front steps.

“I said earlier that life and experience teaches us that politics can change people, but Elijah Cummings changed politics,” Mfume said.

Mfume also talked about how Cummings fought to make sure young people got an education, and he would often go back to his alma mater, the University of Maryland, and talk to students about how they can use their degree to become leaders in the community.

Mfume, also a Chairman of the Morgan State University Board of Regents, released a statement, saying in part, “The book may have closed on his life, but the record is not yet complete.”

Vic Carter

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