SOUTH CAROLINA, USA — South Carolinians are remembering Congressman Elijah E. Cummings after an official from his office announced his death Thursday morning.
Representative Cummings has represented Maryland's 7th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1996.
Before then he served 14 years in the Maryland House of Delegates. During his tenure, he made history as the first African American in Maryland to be named Speaker Pro Tem.
Although he did not live in South Carolina, himself, the Congressman has ties to the state.
Both of Rep. Cummings' parents were from the Palmetto State.
His mother was one of seventeen children born to the late Willie Cochran and Gussie Johnson Cochran on July 7, 1926, in Manning, SC. She was educated in the public schools of Clarendon County.
One evening, in her mid to late teens, she dreamed that a young man would give her a glass of water. Sometime later, she was traveling by wagon down a rural dirt road when a log fell off. A young man picked up the log and put it back on the wagon. Ruth realized that he was the young man in her dream. His name was Robert Cummings and they would later become united in holy matrimony on June 23, 1945.
Soon after the birth of their first child, Robert Cummings Jr., Robert Sr. and Ruth made the decision to follow other family members to Baltimore City seeking a better life for their growing family.
Thursday morning, many South Carolina leaders posted their condolences.
Majority Whip Jim Clyburn tweeted, "Today we have lost a giant. [Representative] Cummings was a public servant to his core. He served his constituents in Maryland with dignity & grace, while defending our democracy with a sense of duty & steady strength. My thoughts & prayers are with the Cummings family today and always."
Senator Tim Scott posted his condolences on Twitter as well, saying in part, "heartbreaking to hear the news of my friend Rep. Elijah Cumming's passing. My prayers are with his wife Maya, his family, and the good people of Baltimore."
Senator Lindsey Graham said "we have lost a very good man with the passing of Elijah Cummings." He continued by tweeting that Cummings "made a difference for the people of Maryland and the nation. He was a friend and a person you could do business with."
Representative Joe Wilson posted on Facebook in part, "Roxanne and I extend our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Maya, his family, and the city of Baltimore as they mourn his passing and remember his service to our Nation.
Representative Ralph Norman tweeted in part, "Sad news today on Capitol Hill...Thank you [Representative] Cummings for your many years of dedicated service, not only to the people of Baltimore but to our country. Our prayers are with his family at this time."
Representative Jeff Duncan says he was very sad to hear the news saying he is "lifting the Cummings family up in prayer during this difficult time."
Senator Marlon Kimpson said our nation 'suffers a great loss.' He continued saying "God bless the Cummings family. Rest in Peace Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings. Rest in Peace."
Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin also tweeted out his prayers for Cummings' wife Maya and his family. He called the Congressman "a gentleman & leader who defied all odds to help lead the greatest nation on earth."
Former South Carolina Democratic chairman Jaime Harrison, who is also running the U.S. Senate, also sent his thoughts and prayers to Cummings' family as he shared a memory.
He tweeted, "One of the greatest political moments of my life was [with Representative] Cummings & Whip Clyburn. We were in LA & had a meeting w/ 100+ preachers. A [thunderstorm] knocked out the lights. [with] only candlelight, Clyburn & Cummings gave 2 of best sermons/speeches I’ve ever heard!
Former South Carolina Governor and presidential candidate Mark Sanford also shared his thoughts calling Cummings "a thoughtful and gracious man of great conviction."
Former Representative Trey Gowdy sent out a series of tweets about Rep. Cummings calling him "one of the most powerful, beautiful and compelling voices in American politics." He continued saying Cummings was authentic, sincere and had a "unique ability to separate the personal from the work."
In a later tweet, he said Cummings' legacy is "making sure there were fewer obstacles for the next Elijah Cummings."
Congressman Cummings used his platform to ensure that the next generation had access to healthcare and education, clean air and water, and a strong economy. He also worked on other initiatives such as waste reform, fraud and abuse, and made sure government programs met the needs of Americans and those he represented.
He has earned several distinctions including 13 honorary doctoral degrees from universities around the country. He is survived by his wife Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings.