Esteemed longtime congressman Elijah Cummings has become the first African American to lie in state at the U.S. Capitol, according to congressional historians.
On Thursday, congressional leaders including Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Mitch McConnell and others gathered to honor the lawmaker at his Capitol memorial service. Cummings passed away last week at the age of 68, and his death gave rise to an outpouring of grief from lawmakers and citizens nationwide.
Cummings was a longtime champion of the Civil Rights movement, among other social justice initiatives, and was regarded by many as an essential moral authority within congress. As chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, Cummings was a leading figure in President Trump's impeachment inquiry and an outspoken warrior for the rights of detained migrant children.
While the Democratic congressman openly clashed with the president, he fostered strong relationships with Republicans during his time on Capitol Hill.
The lawmaker was born and raised in Baltimore, Md. — home to the district he represented until his dying day. The son of former sharecroppers, Cummings served in the Maryland House of Delegates for 14 years and was the first African-American in Maryland's history to be named temporary speaker.
Cummings' funeral service will be held in West Baltimore on Friday, where former presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, as well former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, are expected to deliver remarks.
Nancy Pelosi gave an emotional speech at the lawmaker's memorial on Thursday, referencing his tireless fight for the rights of immigrant children separated from their families at the border and saying, "I have called him our North Star — our guide to a better future for our children."
Chuck Schumer also delivered remarks, saying, "He was universally respected and admired in a divided time. His voice could move mountains."