On This Day July 30, 1945 - Activist and politician Adam Clayton Powell Jr., was elected congressman from Harlem, USA.
Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. loomed as a giant in the Black community of Harlem, not only as the pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church, but also as a community activist and as the first African-American to represent New York in the United States House of Representatives.Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., was one of the earliest and loudest black voices in the American civil rights movement. His flamboyant speaking style and uncompromising calls for justice fueled the civil rights movement when it had few political advocates inside the government. His equally extravagant lifestyle and brash nature, however, ultimately compromised his effectiveness and destroyed his political career.
This won him some political clout as well as some favors, including the arrangement of Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie’s visit to Abyssinian in Harlem, NY in 1954.
During HIM visit to the Abyssinian Baptist Church, Emperor Haile Selassie presented Adam Clayton Powell Jr. with an Ethiopian Coptic cross. This cross has since become the official symbol of the church, and still stands on the pulpit. The Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia also awarded him a gold medallion for his work of relief in Harlem: he wore it everywhere. Powell's picket lines at the headquarters of the World's Fair in the Empire State Building resulted in hundreds of jobs for African Americans in 1939 and 1940.
Adam Clayton Powell Jr. made one of the most powerful statements by anyone
regarding Emperor Haile Sellassie 1st during his speech at the Abyssinian Baptist Church while receiving His Majesty…”Your Majesty you are the symbol to which we pray….”