May 05, 2014

On this day May 5th

DARC Ethiophile Chronicles

On this day

May 5th, 1865 Adam Clayton Powell, Sr. was born to former slaves of African American, Native American, and German ancestry.  He was raised in a family of 17 children in Franklin County, Virginia.

Powells teenage years were reckless until 19 when he was captivated by a religious conversation. After failing to gain entrance into Howard University School of Law, he decided to study religion.  In 1888, he enrolled in Seminary, a theology program at Wayland College in Washington, D.C. and earned his degree in 1892. Powell was a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the National Urban League. This, however confined no boundaries to Powells activism.

Adam Clayton Powell became pastor of Abyssinian Baptist Church in lower Manhattan in 1908.   His high energy preaching style attracted over 1,500 members.  Powell’s conservative social message warned against social immorality, but his liberal activist preaching urged blacks to engage in protest against racial discrimination. In 1923 he moved Abyssinian Baptist to a new home at 132 West 138 Street in Harlem, New York.

In 1937, Powell retired as pastor and his son, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. replaced him on November 1.  Adam Clayton Powell, Sr. died in New York City, on June 12, 1953.

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