Funeral plans for Rep. Elijah Cummings: Everything you need to know

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The late U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings will be honored Friday in Baltimore.

The Baltimore Democrat, who had cancer, was 68 when he died Oct. 17. The Oversight and Reform Committee chairman is remembered by many as a mentor, civil rights activist and stalwart advocate for Baltimore.


There was a celebration Wednesday at Morgan State and a ceremony Thursday in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, and there will be a funeral Friday morning in Baltimore.

Here’s what you need to know:


Who’s speaking at the funeral?

The speakers will include former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton; Hillary Rodham Clinton; U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi; and former NAACP leader and Maryland congressman Kweisi Mfume. All are Democrats.

University of Maryland law professor Larry Gibson — a mentor of the congressman — will also address the service at New Psalmist Baptist Church. Other speakers include former Baltimore health commissioner Leana Wen, a Cummings mentee; clergy member Dr. Alfred Vaughn; Deaconess Margaret Ann Howie; Jon Alexander, whom Cummings mentored; and congressional staff member Harry Spikes.

A number of Cummings’ family members will be speaking, including his widow, Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, who is also the chair of the Maryland Democratic Party. The congressman’s daughters, Jennifer and Adia Cummings, and his brother, James, are also expected to speak.

Who’s delivering the eulogy?

Longtime pastor of the Lochearn church, Bishop Walter S. Thomas Sr., will deliver the eulogy.

How many people are expected to attend Friday’s services?

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The church seats 4,000 people and Thomas predicted the church would be “overflowing.”

Are any roads going to be closed?

No. However, the Baltimore City Department of Transportation is warning drivers to expect heavy traffic throughout the day Friday. The department is advising motorists to allow extra commute time. The areas that will experience the most congestion are around the church. Those roads include:

  • Marian Drive
  • Mount Hope Drive
  • Metro Drive
  • West Northern Parkway
  • Wabash Avenue
  • Liberty Road
  • Liberty Heights Avenue
  • Seton Drive

Will there be increased security?

Most likely, yes. The U.S. Secret Service declined to answer whether it will be present or what security measures might be present. In past high-profile funerals, as with President George H.W. Bush, there was heightened security.

I can’t make it to the funeral. Is there a way I can watch it?

C-SPAN is expected to show the funeral beginning at 10 a.m. Local stations WBAL-TV, WBFF-TV and WJZ-TV will broadcast it.


I want to pay respects to the family. Can I send flowers?

Cummings’ family has suggested that instead of sending flowers, people make donations to the Elijah Cummings Youth Program, according to the March Funeral Homes’ website.

Where is Cummings being buried?

The church spokeswoman said burial arrangements are pending. Cummings’ mother, Ruth, and 20-year-old nephew, Christopher, are buried at Loudon Park Cemetery in Southwest Baltimore.

Baltimore Sun reporters Jeff Barker, Colin Campbell and Jonathan M. Pitts contributed to this article.