Congressman Elijah Cummings

On Monday, Congressman Elijah Cummings sat down with us for an interview in Baltimore. He told us about moving to Edmondson Village in the early 60s. His family was the second black family to buy a house on his block. When they first arrived at their new house, they gathered to pray in the front yard. A policeman drove by and stopped them, thinking that they were protesting. Cummings had witnessed first-hand an encounter that spoke to the suspicions that many of his neighbors held. Within 2 years, he remembers, the white families were gone. For him, it was an incredible time. A larger house, a yard, access to good schools.  The racist city policies that made it impossible for so many black families to make it to the middle class were finally being fought. In ten years he would be in law school.

But I think there is another reason why the Congressman agreed to be in our film and why our 10 minute slot with him turned into almost an hour. About a month ago, Cummings’ nephew was murdered.  A college student, a smart kid, none of it makes any sense. Cummings is devastated, his mind rattles with endless questions.  Did he suffer? Did he have time to say a prayer? Who did it? A giant hole has opened up in his heart and who knows when it will be filled and what it will all mean. It was almost forty years ago that my grandfather was murdered and still, those endless questions rattle through our heads, the hole still feels like a gaping hole.

It breaks my heart thinking about what brought me and the Congressman together. And yet, being with him in his grief, and sharing the story of my grandfather, it’s never been more clear to me that we need to try to understand why these things happen. And to move forward and create life from death.


One thought on “Congressman Elijah Cummings

  1. Emily, I had the privilege of hearing the Congressman tell about the interview you and Mary had with him at the fundraiser on Tuesday. I still cannot believe how the two stories, his and yours came together that day resulting in what he said was one of the most significant events in his life. We are all so connected and yet don’t realize it. Telling an honest story like your documentary does gives us a chance to find those connections. Thanks for the opportunity to hear the Congressman talk about the connection and thanks for the documentary.

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