Rep. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsDem demands documents from TSA after scathing security report Overnight Tech: Dems want FCC chair investigated over Sinclair merger | Google faces state antitrust probe | Qualcomm rejects Broadcom offer | Startups criticize plan to tax employees' stocks Overnight Health Care: Trump tapping Azar for HHS chief | Justices to hear challenge to Calif. abortion law | Group seeks B to fight opioid crisis MORE (D-Md.) said that while the U.S. may not be a nation of "cowards" when it comes to race, remnants of the country's troubled racial past persist through today.

"I don't know that I would use the word cowards, but it is a subject that we avoid," Cummings said Thursday during an appearance on Morning Joe. "We see the remnants of it all the time."

Cummings, who like Attorney General Eric Holder is an African-American, was referring to Holder's remarks yesterday that Americans have been traditionally timid in addressing racial issues in society.

The Maryland lawmaker said, though, that the election of President Obama as the first black president could make a difference in how Americans address race.

"An election of a man of color to the presidency is going to make a difference," Cummings argued, saying Obama's speech during the campaign after the Jeremiah Wright episode was one of the best speeches on race he's ever heard.

Watch a video of the interview: