Rev. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. (November 29, 1908 – April 4, 1972) was an American politician and pastor who represented Harlem, New York in the United States House of Representatives between 1945 and 1971. He was the first African-American elected to Congress from New York. He became chairman of the Education and Labor Committee in 1961. As committee chairman, he supported the passage of important social legislation.
During the Depression years, Powell, a handsome and charismatic figure, became a prominent civil rights leader in Harlem, New York, where he succeeded his father in 1937 as pastor of Abyssinian Baptist Church. He developed a formidable public following in the Harlem community through his crusades for jobs and housing. As chairman of the Coordinating Committee for Employment, he organized mass meetings, rent strikes and public campaigns, forcing companies and utilities, and Harlem Hospital to hire black workers. Powell organized a picket line during the 1939 New York World’s Fair at the Fair’s executive offices in the Empire State Building; as a result, the number of black employees was increased from about 200 to 732 [2]. A bus boycott in 1941 led to the hiring of 200 black workers by the transit authority. When Negro pharmacists were failing to get hired, Powell led a fight in 1941 to have drugstores in Harlem hire them all.[3]
In 1937 he succeeded his father as pastor of Abyssinian Baptist Church. In 1941 he was elected to the New York City Council as the city’s first Black council representative with the aid of New York City’s use of the Single Transferable Vote.[1] He received 65,736 votes, the third best total among the six successful council candidates [4]
“Mass action is the most powerful force on earth,” Mr. Powell once said, adding, “As long as it is within the law, it’s not wrong; if the law is wrong, change the law.” He was elected to Congress in 1944.


Youtube clips:

Biographical Clip

” What’s In Your Hand”-very powerful


Adam Clayton Powell (1989)-DVD

King of the Cats: The Life and Times of Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. by Wil Haygood

Keep the Faith, Baby (2002) – DVD
Starring: Harry J. Lennix, Vanessa Williams (VII)

Adam By Adam: The Autobiography of Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. by Adam Clayton Powell III

Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.: The Political Biography of an American Dilemma by Charles V Hamilton

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