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Late Rep. Elijah Cummings Honored At Black History Month Celebration

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- An all-star panel of Elijah Cummings' closest confidants led the way Monday by honoring him and telling stories to a packed room at the Talmadge Building in east Baltimore.

Mayor Jack Young, State Delegate Talmadge Branch, Chief of Staff Vernon Simms and Cummings' widow Maya Rockeymoore Cummings sat in front of the packed room as they honored the late congressman.

The celebration hosted by J4P Associates in Baltimore honored Cummings' life and legacy.

Perhaps the most emotional part of the day was when Simms told the crowd the last phone call he had with Cummings.

"He says, 'I gotta go, gotta go, gotta go,'" Simms recalled. "'I just wanted to let you know thank you, I love you, and bye!' That was on a Tuesday. He died Thursday in the morning."

In a tearful speech, Maya Rockeymoore Cummings remembered Cummings' final days. She was in the room during that phone call.

"About two weeks before he passed away, he says to me, 'Maya, I'm ready to go. I'm ready to die,' and it was hard for me to take because he'd always bounce back. He'd always bounce back," she said.

Through his 25 year battle with cancer, the congressman's work in Baltimore lasted until he signed papers on his deathbed. He inspired countless others, including Mayor Young, who compared him to some of the most legendary names in history.

"I put him in the same category as Martin Luther King, Gandhi and all of those guys because to me, he was the modern-day Moses," Young said.

The personal stories fulfill a lifetime of memories. Four months after his death, Elijah Cummings' spirit is never forgotten.

Even after his death, Cummings' work isn't finished. He has a book coming soon titled "We're Better Than This: My Fight For the Future of Our Democracy" coming out in June.

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