Weekly NY Photo #37/Celebrating Black History Month

This is the statue of Adam Clayton Powell Jr. that stands outside the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building at the intersection of W.125th St. and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard, in Harlem, NY.


  • Born November 29th, 1908, in Connecticut
  • in 1930, he received his B.A. from Colgate University and he became Assistant Pastor at Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist Church
  • in 1932 he received his M.A. in Religious Education from Columbia University and became an instructor at Columbia University Extension School
  • in 1933, he led a demonstration demanding more doctors and better health care at Harlem Hospital. It was during the Depression Era that he directed relief operations that clothed, fed, and provided fuel for thousands of Harlem’s needy. He also led a 4-year long “Don’t Buy Where You Can’t Work” protest campaign, which eventually led to the employment of thousands of African Americans in local stores/businesses, utility and bus companies, and working at the 1939 World’s Fair
  • in 1935, he wrote an article on the Harlem Riots, criticizing police brutality and discrimination against African Americans
  • in 1937, he became Pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church
  • in 1941, he was elected to the New York City Council – he was the first African American member
  • in 1942, he co-founded and published the People’s Voice newspaper, and also became a member of the National Negro Congress and a Member of the Manhattan Civilian Defense
  • in 1944, Powell was elected to the US House of Representatives. He was Harlem’s first Member of Congress. During his time in Washington D.C., he campaigned against discrimination and segregation. He wrote the Powell Amendment, which denied federal funding to any institution that practiced racial discrimination. A version of the amendment was codified in the Civil rights Act of 1964
  • in 1960, he was appointed Chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor. During this tenure, he directed the development and passage of more than 60 pieces of legislation that established social programs, created jobs, and expanded educational and artistic opportunities
  • Adam Clayton Powell Jr. died in 1972, in Florida, having lived a life that greatly improved the lives of his people

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