Harry S. Cummings:

Political and Professional Career

In 1890 Cummings was elected to the city council from his native ward, which had just been redistricted, giving it more Negro voters. During his first term Cummings succeeded in securing, among other things, a scholarship to the Maryland Institute for Harry S. Pratt. It had been tradition for each city councilman to select a candidate from his ward for a free pass to the art school, but Cummings had to flex his legal muscle in the courts in this case because Pratt was colored and the Institute was reluctant to honor his scholarship. [1]

Cummings was known as the Father of Colored Polytechnic for his efforts in promoting the establishment of the high school.

Reelected in 1891, he lost in 1892 and did not run again until 1897 when he was elected to a two-year term. [2] In the meantime he practiced law at 19 E. Saratoga St. for two years with Warner T. McGuinn (1893-95), and then on his own. After his third term expired he resumed his law practice, this time at 313 St. Paul Street until 1903, and then at 225 N. Calvert. [3]

At the Republican National Convention of 1904 in Chicago, Cummings seconded the nomination of Theodore Roosevelt with a speech that earned him laudatory notice far and wide. He later visited the White House [4]

In 1907 Cummings was elected to a four-year term from the 17th Ward. The voters awarded him with two more terms in 1911 and 1915. [5] Cummings maintained an office at 219 Courtland Street during this period, apparently holding on to his practice while performing his councilman's duties. [6]


Personal Life



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