Cummings was born in Baltimore and graduated with honors from Baltimore City College in 1969. He later attended Howard University in Washington, DC, where he served in student government as sophomore class president, Student Government treasurer and later Student Government President. He became a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society and graduated in 1973 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science.
Cummings attended law school at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, graduating in 1976 and entering the Maryland Bar in December 1976. He practiced law for 19 years before first being elected to the House in the 1996 elections.
For 16 years, Cummings served in the Maryland House of Delegates. In the Maryland General Assembly, he served as Chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland and was the first African American in Maryland history to be named Speaker pro Tempore, the second highest position in the House of Delegates.
Cummings was elected to the United States House of Representatives in April 1996 in a special election for Maryland’s 7th Congressional District following the resignation of Kweisi Mfume. On November 4, 2008, Congressman Cummings was re-elected for a seventh term with 79.5 percent of the vote.
He received praise and a boost in notoriety following the congressional panel hearings on steroids in March 2005. While investigating the use of steroids in sports, the panel called numerous baseball players to testify, including former legendary slugger Mark McGwire. After McGwire answered many previous questions in a vague fashion, Cummings demanded to know if he was “taking the fifth”, referring to the fifth amendment. McGwire responded by saying “I am here to talk about the future not about the past”. The exchange came to epitomize the entire inquiry.
Cummings served as Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus during the 108th United States Congress. He is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, an organization of progressive members of Congress
Congressman Cummings Official Site: http://cummings.house.gov/