Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.

Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., 1908–72, American politician and clergyman, b. New Haven, Conn. In 1937 he became pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York City, and he soon became known as a militant black leader. He was elected to the city council of New York in 1941, and was elected for the first time to the U.S. Congress in 1945. Although a Democrat, he campaigned for President Eisenhower in 1956. As chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor after 1960, he acquired a reputation for flamboyance and disregard of convention. In Mar., 1967, he was excluded by the House of Representatives, which had accused him of misuse of House funds, contempt of New York court orders concerning a 1963 libel judgment against him, and conduct unbecoming a member. He was overwhelmingly reelected in a special election in 1967 and again in 1968. He was seated in the 1969 Congress but fined $25,000 and deprived of his seniority. In June, 1969, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that his exclusion from the House had been unconstitutional. Powell was defeated for reelection in 1970.

See his autobiography (1971); study by A. Jacobs (1973).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Adam Clayton Powell: Portrait of a Marching Black
James P. Haskins.
Dial Press, 1974
African-American Orators: A Bio-Critical Sourcebook
Richard W. Leeman.
Greenwood Press, 1996
Black Leadership for Social Change
Jacob U. Gordon.
Greenwood Press, 2000
Rising Wind: Black Americans and U.S. Foreign Affairs, 1935-1960
Brenda Gayle Plummer.
University of North Carolina Press, 1996
Booknotes: Stories from American History
Brian Lamb.
Public Affairs, 2001
Librarian’s tip: "The Life and Career of Adam Clayton Powell Jr." begins on p. 398
Harlem at War: The Black Experience in WWII
Nat Brandt.
Syracuse University Press, 1997
Rhetoric of Black Revolution
Arthur L. Smith.
Allyn and Bacon, 1969
Librarian’s tip: "Can There Any Good Thing Come Out of Nazareth?" by Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. begins on p. 154
Distinguished African American Political and Governmental Leaders
James Haskins.
Oryx Press, 1999
Encyclopedia of Minorities in American Politics: African Americans and Asian Americans
Jeffrey D. Schultz; Kerry L. Haynie; Anne M. McCulloch; Andrew L. Aoki.
Oryx Press, vol.1, 2000
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