Adam C. Powell Ê

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Adam C. Powell

1909- 1972

Politician/Civil Rights Activist

The son of a clergyman, Adam Clayton Powell became an outspoken politician and civil rights activist. Although he was admired as a dynamic orator on issues of civil rights, he was criticized for using demogogical techniques.

In 1945, he was elected to the House of Representatives as a Democrat representing the Harlem District of New York, and served as a chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor.

In 1960, Powell was sued by a woman whom he accused of being a "bag woman" for police graft. After the scandal surrounding the lawsuit, he maintained a home in the Bahamas. In 1967, he was unseated by a House committee based on charges of misusing public funds. Nevertheless, Powell was reelected in a special election and returned to Congress in 1969, although he was fined $25,000 and deprived of his seniority.

In the same year, the Supreme Court overturned his expulsion from the House, although he was defeated in 1970 when he ran for reelection.