He was also one of them - in practice, if not profession.
Ministers and historians say Cummings, son of a sharecropper and pastors who died last Thursday at 68, is one of the last leaders from a generation forged by the African American church and its concentrated influence on society during the Civil Rights era.
Cummings used his fiery voice to highlight the struggles and needs of inner-city residents.
The Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas of Union Theological Seminary says Cummings' actions embodied the black church "at its best."
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