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Powell, Adam Clayton

b. 1908 - d. 1972

Adam Clayton Powell Jr., born in New Haven, Connecticut, succeeded his father as pastor of Harlem’s historic Abyssinian Baptist Church. Beginning with the Great Depression and continuing through succeeding decades, Powell was a charismatic public voice against segregation. Elected to Congress in 1944, he was a flamboyant, effective opponent of racism. Named chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor, Powell wielded significant political power. He and Dr. King were allies although there were often strong political differences, with Powell eventually ridiculing nonviolence. He was frequently absent from Congress and was investigated by the FBI and the IRS. Powell was eventually stripped of his committee chairmanship, even as he denounced the double standards minorities were judged by. His power and influence diminished, he lost his last congressional race to Charles Rangel.

Associated Archive Content : 58 results

Letter from L.S. Saxet to MLK Regarding Support for James Meredith

In this letter, L.S. Saxet encourages Dr.King to support James Meredith in his run for Congressional office. Saxet claims that to vote another candidate into office would result in embarrassment for the Negro people.

Letter from Marlys Michels to MLK

Miss Michels informs Dr. King that she will no longer contribute to the SCLC. She disagrees with Dr. King's statements on the Vietnam War, as well as his support of Adam Clayton Powell.

Letter from MLK to Adam Clayton Powell

Dr. King writes Adam Clayton Powell to seek advice on how to handle Powell's return from self-imposed exile in Bimini. Powell sought to publicize the event with a public announcement by Dr. King. However, Dr. King and Powell's lawyers suggest that they arrange a quiet, staged arrest with local officials to prevent public pressure from forcing a more lengthy arrest over the criminal contempt charges Powell faced for vacating his seat in Congress. Dr. King suggests more publicity could follow once Powell's lawyers free him on bond and begin the appeals process.

Letter from Mrs. Forest Dana to MLK

Mrs. Forest Dana writes Dr. King to express her displeasure in his outspoken stance against the Vietnam War. She acknowledges the withdrawal of her support and feels that he has done a disservice to Negroes in America. She believes he should focus on civil rights and not interfere with the war.

Letter from Ora Belle Tamm to MLK

Ora Belle Tamm objects to the reaction of Negro leaders during the Adam Clayton Powell affair and expresses her disappointment to Dr. King.

Letter from Paul Anderson to MLK

Paul Anderson writes Dr. King requesting to know his association with Adam Clayton Powell.

Letter from Pauline Lee to MLK

Pauline Lee withdraws her support from Dr. King due to his failure to withdraw support for Adam Clayton Powell.

Letter From Philip S. Riggs to MLK

In this letter, Philip Riggs writes to express his difference of opinion with Dr. King regarding the treatment of House Representative Adam Clayton Powell.

Letter from Robert L. Tucker Jr. to MLK

Robert Tucker inquires about Dr. King's views on Adam Clayton Powell and his position in Washington. Tucker states that he has great respect for Dr. King, which is why he wants clarity on his sentiments regarding the Powell controversy.

Letter from Stacey McCloud to MLK

Stacey McCloud writes to Dr. King suggesting that he, Stokley Carmichael and others relocate to Africa and march.

Letter from W. C. Akers to MLK

W. C. Akers expresses his concern about Dr. King's support of Adam Clayton Powell.

Letter from Wallace Terry to MLK

The Washington Post anticipates Dr. King's presence as their speaker for the Public Lecture Series "One Hundred Years of Freedom." However, the coordinator of the event, Wallace Terry, understands that Dr. King's imprisonment in the Birmingham jail might prevent Dr. King from appearing. Terry suggests that the Reverends Fred Shuttlesworth, Ralph Abernathy or Wyatt Walker could serve as a substitute. Lastly, Terry pledges to collect an offering for the SCLC.

Letter from Walter G. Pietsch to MLK

Walter G. Peitsch asks Dr. King to support a resolution to reinstate Adam Clayton Powell to his seat in the United States House of Representatives and his Chairmanship of the United States Committee on Education and Labor.

Letter from William Adams to MLK

William Adams from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary writes Dr. King informing him of political matters in New York City, which may hinder the civil rights efforts of African Americans.

Letter to Congressman Elect Adam C. Powell

This letter from constituent Robert Greene urges Adam C. Powell to reopen his case so that he may be cleared of any wrong doing. Greene states how important Powell is to the Black community and the State of New York. Greene provides information that may assist Powell with his case.

Look Magazine: Can Johnson Win His Other War?

The Office of Economic Opportunity republished this spotlight on President Johnson's War on Poverty from Look Magazine in June 1967. The editors discuss the "poverty of opportunity" plaguing nearly 1 in every 6 Americans, saying that Johnson's War on Poverty makes an attempt to combat the economic conditions of America's most vulnerable, including Negro Americans. The articles also shed light on the numerous shortcomings the Johnson Administration-supported legislation has encountered amongst legislators and the American public.

Newspaper Clippings from New York and New Jersey

These newspaper clippings represent the views of several individuals who are critical of the Black Power Movement, the work ethics of African Americans and the government's policies.

Powell's Court Suit Challenged by House Move

Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, the first black Congressman from New York State, files a suit with the federal court to regain his congressional seat after being excluded from Congress due to "unauthorized travel at taxpayers' expense and payroll padding." This newspaper article briefly details Powell's suit and The House of Representatives' response to the charge. The case would eventually be heard by the Supreme Court in Powell vs. McCormack, leading to the Federal Contested Elections Act in 1969.

Public Meeting Program Agenda

This document outlines the participants of a two-day public meeting beginning on September 26, 1962. Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth presides over the meeting in which the "Rosa Parks Freedom Award" is presented by Rosa Parks and Adam Clayton Powell.

Robert Greene's Resolutions

Robert Greene, of Puerto Rican and African American ancestry, resolves to censure the State of New York. He lists a plethora of racist activities and "Orwellian deceptions" as causes.

S.C.L.C's Rev. Bevel Charges U.S. Gov't With Genocide

This article, details the work and beliefs of Reverend James L. Bevel, a Baptist minister and field representative of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Bevel claims that the United States Government is committing genocide against Negro people.

SCLC Confab Boasts Galaxy of Civil Rights Stars

The SCLC has chosen Birmingham, Alabama as the place for their Sixth Annual Convention. It includes the Annual Freedom Dinner, that will honor the top personalities identified with the Negro struggle. The convention also includes presentations from major authorities on nonviolence.

Statement by Roy Wilkins to Congress

The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights adopted this statement by Roy Wilkins, Chairman, for the opening of the 1967 Congressional session. Their agenda includes full compliance with all existing civil rights legislation, equality and justice in the courts, greater protection for those who exercise their civil rights, and an end to housing discrimination. Wilkins states that economic and social conditions must be created so that civil rights guaranteed by law can be realized.

Telegram from MLK to Adam Clayton Powell

Dr. King offers words of encouragement to Adam Clayton Powell during the loss of his seat and chairmanship in Congress.

The Birth of a New Nation

Dr. King compares the ongoing civil rights struggle in the United States to the Hebrews' Exodus from Egypt.

The Cartoonist's View: Make Gains In St. Augustine

This column features news on "gains in St. Augustine," and quotations from various sources on civil rights issues.

The Evening Star: The Perversion of a Cause

This article describes the effect of James Meredith's withdrawal from the race for Adam Powell's congressional seat. Civil Rights activists such as Dr. King, Mr. Carmichael and Mr. McKissick offer their opinions on how the race was handled.

The Powell Affair - A Crisis of Morals ad Faith

The National Committee of Negro Churchmen express disapproval regarding the unseating of Adam Clayton Powell as Representative of the 18th Congressional District of New York, and Chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee. The organization issues a call to Congress and the Democratic Caucus for Powell's re-instatement.

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