U.S. Congressman Elijah Cummings Concludes 2018-2019 King Lecture Series


WASHINGTON – The 2018-2019 Gwendolyn S. and Colbert I. King Endowed Chair in Public Policy Lecture Series, chaired by political strategist and author Donna Brazile, concluded with “Civic Engagement and the Future of American Democracy,” featuring Howard University graduate and U.S. Representative Elijah Cummings. Congressman Cummings has represented Maryland’s 7th Congressional District for more than 20 years and previously served as chairman of the King Lecture Series between 2015 and 2017. Howard University President Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick welcomed Congressman Cummings as a distinguished alumnus with an unwavering gratitude for the University.

“This is an extremely special event because one of our former holders of the chair, Representative Cummings, is here and I want to thank him for his continued support,” said Dr. Frederick. “It’s fitting to close the series this academic year with the person who epitomizes ‘bringing the people’s government to the people’ – and, that certainly is Congressman Cummings.” Dr. Frederick celebrated the importance of the series and its history of bringing prominent policy influencers to the University for discussion, analysis and engagement. 

This year, Brazile says the series explored the future by connecting with students on democracy, stability in American politics, voting rights and civil rights. However, she says the series couldn’t come to close without Congressman Cummings joining the conversation. 

“I first met Representative Cummings when I was a House staffer for Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton. He always engaged us, gave us a seat at the table to learn the political process and to continue our own careers in government and public service,” Brazile said. “It is a great honor to have the esteemed Chairman of the House of Oversight Committee on Capitol Hill here with us.”

From Brazile’s first question to Congressman Cummings regarding the release of Special Counsel Investigation, he established a pattern of providing thoughtful responses to resolving the political and cultural issues of today. From the prescription opioid epidemic to sanctuary cities and calls for the impeachment of President Donald Trump, Congressman Cummings remained firm in his stance being “effective and efficient.” 

Congressman Cummings emphasized the need to vote in his remarks.

“The best thing we can do, right now, is protect the right to vote. We must explain to people how important it is to vote, and why they must vote for people that reflect their values,” said Cummings.  A key element of the voting power he spoke of is the acceptance and appreciation of young people as politically active, both locally and nationally, and facilitators of progressive change.

“What most don’t know is that it’s young people, the staff, who actually make policy on the Hill,” he said. “I encourage students to flood the Capitol for internships to gain the knowledge, which is most important.” 

With the 2020 presidential campaign cycle on the horizon, Brazile’s last point before closing the discussion was a reminder to the audience that “the road to the White House will go through Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), citing 112 of the 270 electoral votes needed for presidency representing areas where HBCUs are located. 

Howard University Provost and Chief Academic Officer Anthony K. Wutoh, Ph.D., closed the lecture with thanks to both Brazile and Cummings. 

“I speak on behalf of the entire University that Congressman Cummings set a high bar when he served as chair of the King Lecture Series. Ms. Brazile has matched that level of excellence,” Provost Wutoh said. “Congressman Cummings, we owe you a debt of gratitude as an alum, and not just a congressman of the state of Maryland, but for disadvantaged and disenfranchised people across this country.”

For more information the Gwendolyn S. and Colbert I. King Endowed Chair in Public Policy Lecture Series, contact KingLectureSeries@Howard.edu.


Photo 1: 2018-2019 King Lecture Series Chair Donna Brazile & U.S. Representative Elijah Cummings

Photo 2: Provost and Chief Academic Officer Anthony K. Wutoh, Donna Brazile & Rep. Cummings


Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 13 schools and colleges. Students pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University operates with a commitment to Excellence in Truth and Service and has produced four Rhodes Scholars, 11 Truman Scholars, two Marshall Scholars, one Schwarzman Scholar, over 70 Fulbright Scholars and 22 Pickering Fellows. Howard also produces more on-campus African-American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States.  For more information on Howard University visit www.howard.edu

Media contact: Ramzey Smith, Office of University Communications, Ramzey.smith@howard.edu