Late Rep. Elijah Cummings' official portrait unveiled at the Capitol

His widow told ABC News it "is going to help keep his legacy alive."

September 14, 2022, 10:16 PM

With his widow and former colleagues looking on, the late Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings had his official portrait unveiled Wednesday at the U.S. Capitol.

Cummings died in October 2019, at 68, after longstanding health challenges. He was first elected to the House in 1996 and served as chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform until he died.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and House Majority Whip James Clyburn on Wednesday and delivered remarks honoring Cummings.

"He was a leader of towering integrity, everybody knows that. A man whose life embodied the American dream," Pelosi, a Maryland native, said.

Representative Elijah Cummings attends a press conference at the Capitol in Washington, Oct. 16, 2015.
Bloomberg via Getty Images, FILE

Cummings' portrait was commissioned by his widow, Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, and was painted by Baltimore-based artist Jerrell Gibbs. It will hang in the Rayburn House Office Building Government Oversight and Reform Committee hearing room.

"This entire process has been a beautiful challenge," Gibbs said Wednesday. "Being tasked with creating a painting of this magnitude for someone as important as the honorable Elijah Cummings to be permanently housed in a place of such significance as the United States Capitol building seemed like an insurmountable feat."

The portrait of the late former US Representative Elijah Cummings is unveiled during a ceremony on Capitol Hill in Washington, Sept. 14, 2022.
Stefani Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

Rockeymoore Cummings told ABC News that the portrait "is going to help keep his legacy alive, because that portrait is going to actually stand and look over the Government Oversight and Reform Committee members as they deliberate on all matters of issues."

"And he's going to be a reminder to them that we have to hold ourselves to the highest levels of integrity, that we have to hold ourselves to the truth," she said.