Residents noted how the late congressman, who returned home to his community every night, had risen to national significance and touched their lives
No! exclaimed Shauntee Daniels, the executive director of the Baltimore National Heritage Area, throwing her head back in dismay at learning the news. Im so sorry to hear that. He was absolutely loved by the people he represented. He understood the benefit of preserving Baltimores history for current generations and future generations.
Daniels recalled meeting Cummings, who died suddenly on Thursday at 68, at an National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) dinner in 2014. He reminded me of a wise father figure. He wasnt in it for the politics; he was in it for the people. You could see he really cared about Baltimore.
Others noted how Cummings had risen to national significance, particularly during Donald Trumps presidency. In July Trump derided Baltimore as a disgusting rat and rodent-infested mess, that no human being would want to live there. Cummings black majority district covers most of the city.
Helen Atkinson, an educational consultant, said: Its an awful loss in our effort to push back against Trump. It makes me think about what he said to push back against Trump. She cited Cummings recollection of having told Trump: Mr President, youre now seventysomething, Im sixtysomething. Very soon you and I will be dancing with the angels. The thing that you and I need to do is figure out what we can do what present can we bring to generations unborn?
Atkinson added: I think its a big blow for Baltimore. Most importantly right now, its national policies that matter. He was representing us in Baltimore but also in an incredibly important job on the House oversight committee.
Other residents told how Cummings touched their lives. Tony Jernigan, 47, a taxi driver and e-commerce trader, said: My 16-year-old son texted me to say he died, so he was the kind of person the younger generation were sensitive to.
He was a big voice, a big personality, very young to be dying. For a politician, he seemed to be a genuine guy. He was about the disadvantaged person and the working class. He had his beef with Trump but he was always there on the frontline. He was seen around the city.