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.
Rep. Elijah Cummings
Rep. Elijah Cummings
US Congressman Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, speaks at the White House in Washington, DC, March 8, 2017, after a meeting with US President Donald Trump. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
US Congressman Elijah Cummings (R), D-Maryland, and US Congressman Peter Welch, D-Vermont, speak at the White House in Washington, DC, March 8, 2017, after a meeting with US President Donald Trump. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 09: (L-R) Senate Foreign Relations ranking member Ben Cardin (D-MD), House Oversight and Government Reform ranking member Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) hold a news conference to call for an independent, bipartisan commission to investigate foreign interference in the 2016 presidential election at the U.S. Capitol January 9, 2017 in Washington, DC. Accusations of Russian computer hacks of Democratic National Committee servers and emails have lead to calls for an investigation. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 23: Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) (L) visits with Rev. Jesse Jackson during a reception in honor of the opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture at the White House September 23, 2016 in Washington, DC. Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush will be among the guests to help open the museum to the public Saturday. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JULY 25: Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., speaks at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on Monday, July 25, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) hold a news conference to discuss ?legislation to lower drug prices and increase access to medications" on Capitol Hill in Washington September 10, 2015. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Ranking member U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) (L) and chair Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) chat during a hearing at the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform hearing on "Examining Obama Transparency Failures" in Washington December 9, 2014. Obamacare consultant Jonathan Gruber apologized on Tuesday for his recent remarks about "the stupidity of the American voter," telling the congressional committee he did not think President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law was passed in a deceptive manner. REUTERS/Gary Cameron (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS HEALTH)
Congressman Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD) speaks during a news conference about his former staff, who lost six children of her children in an overnight fire in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S., January 12, 2017. REUTERS/Bryan Woolston
Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake speaks as U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) looks on during a news conference on the demonstrations for Freddie Gray, who died following an arrest by the Baltimore police department, in Baltimore, Maryland April 26, 2015. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
U.S. Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD) asks questions during "The Security Failures of Benghazi" hearing on Capitol Hill, Washington D.C. October 10, 2012. Diplomatic security in Libya was drawn down ahead of last month's fatal attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi and U.S. officials did not have enough protection, the former head of a U.S. security team in Libya told lawmakers on Wednesday. REUTERS/Jose Luis Magana (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 14: Congressman Elijah Cummings and his wife, Maya Rockeymoore, on the red carpet at the Congressional Black Caucus 20th Annual Celebration of Leadership in the Fine Arts at Sidney Harman Hall at the Shakespeare Theatre on September 14, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Shannon Finney/WireImage)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 25: Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) gestures while delivering a speech on the first day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 25, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Philadelphia, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Democratic National Convention kicked off July 25. (Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 07: Committee chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) (R) talks to ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) (L) prior to a hearing before House Oversight and Government Reform Committee July 7, 2016 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The committee held a hearing 'Oversight of the State Department,' focusing on the FBI's recommendation not to prosecute Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for maintaining a private email server during her time as Secretary of State. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton waves after receiving the endorsement of Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) during a grassroots event in Baltimore, Maryland on April 10, 2016. / AFP / YURI GRIPAS (Photo credit should read YURI GRIPAS/AFP/Getty Images)
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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."