Before U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings chaired the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, and long before he took on President Donald Trump as a congressman, the young attorney practiced law in Baltimore’s Courthouse East.
Now, that historic downtown building will bear his name.
Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young recently signed a bill calling for the courthouse to be renamed after the congressman who passed away in October at 68.
A spokesman for the mayor said a formal renaming ceremony will be scheduled to coincide with Cummings’ birthday on Jan. 18.
“The mayor wants to make sure Congressman Cummings is memorialized and that future generations will have an opportunity to walk past and see his name,” Lester Davis said. “This is the first of many very warranted tributes that will come.”
Cummings was a powerful advocate for Baltimore and civil rights, and Young called him one of the city’s “greatest voices." The Democrat died after several years of health problems, including cancer.
“It is most fitting that this building, in which Congressman Cummings fought for justice for his fellow citizens early in his career as an attorney, be named in his honor,” Young said in a statement after Cummings’ death. "It will stand in perpetuity as a monument to Cummings’ service to the common man, the rule of law in our society, and his commitment to economic justice for all.”
Courthouse East is on the east side of North Calvert Street, across from a separate judiciary building that was named for Clarence M. Mitchell Jr. in 1985. Both buildings house the Circuit Court for Baltimore, which handles criminal cases and major civil cases, including divorce and matters of child custody and child support.
It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977, the same year it became part of the circuit court.