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Late congressman Elijah Cummings hailed as ‘North Star’ for Democrats at service

‘Our country has lost a giant’: Schumer at Cummings’ service
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer praised Representative Elijah Cummings, a civil rights champion who died last week at the age of 68.

WASHINGTON — The late Rep. Elijah Cummings was hailed as the “North Star” for fellow House Democrats as congressional leaders and colleagues paid tribute to him at a Capitol ceremony Thursday.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., a close personal and political ally, also said that “Elijah was truly a master of the House.”

Elijah Cummings lies in state in the U.S. Capitol
Elijah Cummings lies in state in the U.S. Capitol

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., recalled Cummings’ efforts to calm his native Baltimore amid violent 2015 protests following the death of a black man, Freddie Gray, in police custody. Cummings’ involvement, taking to the streets with a bullhorn, helped quiet the disturbances.

By day, Cummings was at the Capitol in the halls of power, McConnell said, but at night he returned Baltimore to encourage unity.

“Let’s go home. Let’s all go home,” McConnell recalled Cummings saying at the time. “Now our distinguished colleague truly has gone home.”

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READ MORE: Elijah Cummings, powerful Democratic congressman, dies at age 68

The public was to have the chance to pay respects to Cummings later Thursday in Statuary Hall.

Cummings, chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, died Oct. 17 after complications from long-standing health problems. A wake and funeral are planned Friday in Baltimore.

Elijah Cummings’ body arrives at Baltimore university ahead of ‘celebration of life’
Elijah Cummings’ body arrives at Baltimore university ahead of ‘celebration of life’

A sharecropper’s son, Cummings rose to become a civil rights champion and a leader of an impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump.

As a tribute to Cummings, no votes were scheduled Thursday in the House.