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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

A Lack of Jewish Soldiers

T.S. D'Amico writes Dr. King and others over what he perceives as a lack of Jewish men being drafted into military service.

A Memo from the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE)

This memorandum written by Lincoln Lynch, Associate Director of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), outlines proposed travel arrangements, speakers, workshop topics and entertainment for the upcoming National Convention.

Adverse Letter about Adam Clayton Powell

An anonymous author asserts that Adam Clayton Powell is not a good leader and he "got in the limelight as he has done by filth."

Adverse Letter to MLK

In this letter, opposition is asserted as the author places into question Dr. King's decency and religion.

Anonymous Letter to MLK

An unknown author questions Dr. King about his leadership and involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. He references various racial, political, and social events, and stresses that Dr. King is responsible for all the riots, violence and looting.

Cloudy Summit

In this article, Mr. Randolph organizes a conference of Negro leaders to take action in the suspension case of Rep. Adam Clayton Powell.

How Dodd Differs From Powell/Dwellings Toured

The newspaper article entitled, "How Dodd Differs From Powell," examines how differently Senator J. Dodd and Congressman Adam C. Powell were treated after a major controversy. This controversy resulted in the removal of Congressman Powell from office.

If I were a Negro

Rabbi I. Usher Kirshblum writes Dr. King to share an article he wrote in the "Jewish Center of Kew Garden Hills Bulletin." The article references the expelling of Congressman Adam Clayton Powell and criticizes the African American response towards his defense. The author states, "If I were a Negro I would not waste my time in defending Powell's wrong acts but would rather speak of the many good acts he performed." Rabbi Kirshblum goes on to praise the views of men like Dr. King and Rev. Roy Wilkins, while rejecting those of Stokely Carmichael.

Importance of Negro History and Independence

Dr. King speaks to society's misunderstanding of Negro thought and the resulting tensions in race relations. He attributes this misunderstanding to the lack of Negro history authentically represented in books. Contrived myths created by "omission and commission in books" have reinforced prejudice and faulty sense of white supremacy. He observes that illusions cloud reality and render hostility. Society's unresolved problems are aggravated by racial misconceptions.

Legal Brief of Robert Greene

Robert Greene, a mixed race individual from New York, appeals his case to the Supreme Court of the United States. Greene asserts that New York investigators and police conspired to violate his civil rights by means of wrongful arrest and detention, even after his innocence became apparent. Furthermore, as Greene is recognized as indigent, his case proceeds "in forma pauperis," or without the burden of court costs and legal fees.

Letter from Adam C. Powell to MLK

Minister Powell commends Dr. King on his recent message at the 157th Anniversary of Abyssinian Baptist Church. He also encloses a donation to the SCLC.

Letter from Adam C. Powell to Wyatt Tee Walker

Reverend Adam Clayton Powell copies to MLK a letter informing Wyatt Walker that his preaching duties at Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem are being terminated because of budget constraints.

Letter from Adam Clayton Powell to the Friends of Black Power

Adam Clayton Powell issues a notice to the Friends of Black Power requesting that they enhance their strategy in order to be effective. He conveys that one person leading the charge of Black Power will slow down the momentum of its purpose. Powell suggests that a National Conference on Black Power be governed by multiple conveners.

Letter from Adam Powell to MLK

In this letter, Mr. Powell informs Dr. King how important he is to society and that he is in full support of his work. He also wishes to invite Dr. King to the next session of Congress for advice and ideas.

Letter from Alice Brainerd to MLK

Ms. Brainerd criticizes the methods of Dr. King, asserting that "civil disobedience and non-cooperation" are not the best approach to take towards justice.

Letter from Berenice Wiggins to MLK

In this letter, Ms. Wiggins encloses a contribution to the SCLC. She also requests that Dr. King puts out an announcement so that listeners can tune into his radio broadcast on WLIB.

Letter from C. Ray Ballard to MLK Regarding Adam Clayton Powell

In this letter, Mr. Ballard expresses disappointment to hear a recent radio report of Dr. King's political support for Adam Clayton Powell. Mr. Ballard defines this as a missed opportunity to promote racial justice.

Letter from C. Summer Stone Jr. to MLK

Chuck Stone, assistant to New York Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, follows up with Dr. King about a telephone conversation between Powell and Dr. King. The discussion centered on Dr. King preaching at Abyssinian for the anniversary service. Stone reiterates Powell's hopes that Dr. King will be able to participate.

Letter from Carleton L. Spier to MLK

Spier shares his disapproval of Dr. King's support of Adam Clayton Powell and his concern regarding Dr. King's stance on the Vietnam War.

Letter from Charles J. Benner to MLK

Dr. King is adversely described in this letter and accused of being a communist by Charles Benner. He further slanders the Negro race and objects to the current national movements lead by Dr. King.

Letter from Clifford L. Alexander to MLK

Clifford L. Alexander, Chairman for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, wrote to Dr. King to encloses some clippings from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission News Digest, the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post regarding the EEOC's hearings on white collar discrimination in New York.

Letter from Congressman Adam Clatyon Powell to MLK

Harlem Representative Adam Clayton Powell informs Dr. King that all of the "War on Poverty" hearings will be cancelled until furtherl notice.

Letter from Delight S. Gordon to MLK

Ms. Gordon urges Dr. King to use his influence as a great leader to persuade Negros not to condone the actions of Adam Clayton Powell.

Letter from Dr. Herzl Ragins to MLK

Dr. Herzl Ragins writes to Dr. King, denouncing him because of his support for Adam Clayton Powell.

Letter from E. Z. Graves to MLK

E. Z. Graves adversely compares Dr. King, Stokely Carmicheal and Adam Clayton Powell to manure. Mr. Graves attaches an article entitled, "King and Carmicheal Maps Strategy for Summer Attacks on Big Cities."

Letter from Evelyn Rawley to Billy Mills

Evelyn E. Rawley writes Billy Mills, chairman of the Democratic County Central Committee, to express distaste for Mills' choice of colleagues, political activity, and lack of reason. Rawley affirms that Mill's irresponsible actions are an obstacle to democratic practices.

Letter from Griffin R. Simmons to MLK

Griffin R. Simmons, President of The Consolidate Association, responds to Dr. King's letter of recent date stating that he was chosen to be honored by the Consolidate Association. Simmons hopes that Dr. King can make an appearance at the Fall Affair, and requests him to make a statement which will appear in their journal.

Letter from Harold Eggers to MLK

In this letter Harold Eggers, a White supremacist, criticizes the African American race, for what Eggers perceives as an inability to recognize "real leadership ability." However, he does this while commending Dr. King for possessing "real leadership ability."

Letter from Irene Zimmerman to MLK

Miss Zimmerman expresses disapproval in Dr. King's support of Adam Clayton Powell.

Letter from Jean Ward Wolff to MLK

Jean Ward Wolff expresses her concern about Dr. King turning his back on truth and justice in the form of supporting Adam Clayton Powell.

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