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  • Devyn Wong

Honoring Elijah Cummings and John Lewis During Black History Month

Happy Black History Month! For my article this week I wanted to highlight two politicians who I think were two of the most inspiring black congressmen so far, Elijah Cummings and John Lewis.

A descendant of slaves, Elijah Cummings knew, from an early age, about the deep-rooted racism within the United States. Cummings was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1951, just before the Civil Rights movement. When he was eleven, Cummings helped integrate his community pool - the first of many fights he would go on to lead for equity and civil rights. Cummings always dreamed of becoming a lawyer, and when his elementary school counselor told Cummings he could never become a lawyer, he became even more determined. Cummings would go on to prove his counselor wrong by not only becoming a lawyer but also a congressman. Representative Elijah Cummings honorably served for 23 years in Congress. During that time, he advocated for individuals in his Baltimore Congressional District. His legacy will be remembered as someone who deeply valued integrity and hard work. He was a spark for change serving as an inspiration to all. To learn more about Elijah Cummings, click here!

John Lewis was born on February 21, 1940 on a sharecropping farm in rural Alabama. After his parents moved from the sharecropping farm to their own farm, Lewis spent a lot of his time tending to the farm. Lewis took care of the chickens, and he would care for them as if they were humans by baptizing them at birth and holding funerals when they died. This compassion set the stage for the caring tendencies he carried throughout his life. At the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement, Lewis often organized sit-ins, protests, and marches, and he walked alongside Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. When Lewis was first arrested in Nashville for sitting at a whites-only lunch counter while segregationists beat him up, his parents were disappointed in him. When he was growing up, they told him to accept things the way they were and said, “Don’t get in trouble.” Becoming only the 2nd black congressman elected from Georgia and serving 33 years in Congress, he encouraged everyone, against his parents’ views, to “get in good trouble” and fighting for civil rights for all Americans. Click here to watch a documentary on John Lewis!



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