BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Elijah Cummings influenced millions of Americans, but to those in the place he called home, the late Congressman from Baltimore was a true hero who is missed.

Christopher Batten, a local artist, was commissioned to paint a portrait of the civil rights leader by Johns Hopkins University. The final product was unveiled Thursday.

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“I stand here because of people like him,” Batten said.

The artist said he conducted research by reading Cummings’ works and speaking with some of the people who knew him best.

Batten is pleased to know the portrait will be revealed first to future generations at Henderson-Hopkins Elementary School.

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Ron Daniels, President of Johns Hopkins University, said the painting will be on display at the Milton S. Eisenhower Library starting in April.

“Elijah was a Congressman, a champion for civil rights, a lover of our city and a believer in people who call the city home,” he said.

Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, Elijah Cummings’s widow, gave out books to students at the unveiling and told them the story of young Elijah, at age 11, participating in protests.

“Make sure that your voices are heard and develop yourself so by the time you get old enough you can become voters and maybe even run for an office yourself,” she said.

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Students were then tasked with creating self-portraits which will be displayed on campus once completed.

Rachael Cardin