Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Powell was elected to the House of Representatives in the mid-1940s. His father became a champion civil rights reformer, also making great strides in schooling and work. The senior Powell faced controversy for a number of his behaviour and comment. Powell died in Florida in 1972.
The family, which contained daughter Blanche, moved to New York City when the senior Powell took on a clergy place at Abyssinian Baptist Church, a historic African American association that will eventually move to Harlem. The junior Powell went to attend City College before transferring to Colgate University in Hamilton, ny, where he graduated in 1930. A couple of years later (1932), he earned a master’s degree in religious education from Columbia University, and after that furthered his divinity studies at Shaw University. During the 1930s, Powell worked as an assistant minister and company supervisor at Abyssinian—taking over his dad’s place as pastor in 1937—and became a staunch community activist for Harlem residents.
Powell married Isabel Washington in 1933, as well as the couple later divorced. Powell would remarry and divorce two more times within the next decades. Powell after determined to enter local politics and, in 1941, won a seat to the New York City Council, becoming the very first African American elected to the place. The blunt, electrifying leader and orator would continue to serve 12 periods as a U.S. representative.
During his congressional service, Powell served on numerous committees and continued to agitate for African American human rights, calling for an end to lynching in the South and Jim Crow laws. He angered Southern segregationists, including those within his own party, by incorporating congressional eateries, recreational facilities and press stations; critiquing antiSemitism; and recommending for autonomy for African and Asian nations. In 1961, Powell became chair of the House Committee on Education and Labor. The particular group could produce an unprecedented variety of legislative reforms, including a minimum wage increase, educational resources for the deaf, backing for student loans, library assistance, work-hour regulations and occupation training.
Still, Powell’s individual life and professional strategies stirred up controversy. The agitation appeared to have little impact on Powell’s loyal Harlem constituency, yet, and he continued to win reelection to his House seat. In light of the recently garnered adverse marketing, Powell pulled away to Bimini in the Bahamas. Powell was reelected to Congress in 1968; he lost the Democratic primary in 1970, yet, to Charles Rangel by an extremely small margin.On April 4, 1972, Powell died from cancer in Miami, Florida. His ashes were scattered over Bimini.
The Harlem community proceeds to remember the politician and religious leader because of his advocacy of the neighborhood; among its many memorials of historical African American figures, Harlem created an iconic state office building and blvd in Powell’s name. Among Powell’s sons, Adam Clayton Powell IV, picked to follow in his dad’s footsteps and enter politics, becoming an associate of the New York State Assembly; Powell IV unsuccessfully campaigned against Rangel (his dad’s earlier congressional adversary) in 1994 and 2010.
Martin Luther King Jr. – An American Legend (TV14; 1:11) View a brief video about Martin Luther King, Jr. to learn how this supporter for peace and equality inherited his name from his dad.
Political Activism in Harlem (TVPG; 2:14) Dr. Khalil Gibran Muhammad, the Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, discusses well-known figures who led to the history of political activism in Harlem.
Martin Luther King – Miniature Biography (TV14; 4:39) Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is widely considered the most powerful leader of the American civil rights movement. His father fought to overturn Jim Crow segregation laws and remove societal and economical differences between blacks and whites.