Morgan State University announced it has acquired a 200 linear-foot personal collection of papers, framed artwork, photographs, numbered pieces, and a small cache of curated Maryland belongings from the estate of the late Congressman Elijah E. Cummings.
Morgan State officially acquired the rare collection — it includes constituency letters of concerned citizens and items depicting significant milestones and achievements in advancing policy and legislature — in October. University officials said the collection will be housed in the Earl R. Richardson Library’s Beulah M. Davis Research Room, where the university maintains its archives, manuscripts, and rare books. Cummings served for 23 years in the U.S. Congress advocating for policies to help improve working-class Americans’ lives.
“The papers of the late Congressman Elijah E. Cummings allow the Morgan State University community an opportunity to prepare, curate, and implement a correct narrative of a native Baltimorean, lawyer, legislator, and compassionate politician who balanced his responsibility with clarity,” said Dr. Ida E. Jones, associate director of Special Collections and University Archivist. “Using his booming voice and skillful diplomacy while remaining accessible to the everyday person kept him grounded in working to provide equitable access for all Baltimoreans, Marylanders, and American citizens.”
The Baltimore City-born late congressman graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Howard University with a bachelor’s degree in political science and earned a law degree from the University of Maryland School of Law. He was first elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in 1982. Cummings represented District 44, a predominantly Black district in southwestern Baltimore, 14 years and served as vice chairman of the Constitutional and Administrative Law Committee and the Economic Matters Committee.
Cummings, who died Oct. 17, 2019, became the first Black member of Congress to lay in state in the Capitol’s National Statuary Hall. House Democratic leadership honored Cummings in February 2020 by renaming the Oversight and Reform Committee hearing room in the Rayburn House Office Building the Elijah E. Cummings Room.
Morgan State plans to secure grant funding to assist in processing and digitizing the constituency letters to track the breadth and depth of societal, economic, and legal issues the late Congressman mediated during his congressional tenure.