The late US Representative Elijah Cummings recited this 54-word poem by Dr. Benjamin E. Mays, a pioneering civil rights leader who was the president of Morehouse College during Martin Luther King Jr. education there, during his first congressional speech. King cited Mays as one of his great influences. Mays gave the eulogy at King’s funeral after his assassination in 1968.

I have only just a minute,

Only sixty seconds in it.

Forced upon me, can’t refuse it.

Didn’t seek it, didn’t choose it.

But it’s up to me

to use it.

I must suffer if I lose it.

Give account if I abuse it.

Just a tiny little minute,

but eternity is in it.

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