Remembering Dr. King, and Adam C. Powell

Dr. John Warren

By Dr. John E. Warren | Publisher, The San Diego Voice & Viewpoint – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968, a day those of us who are old enough will never forget. But April 4th is significant for another reason, because on April 4, 1972, the Rev. Dr. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., Congressman from New York, died in a Florida hospital. His death, although not related to Dr. King’s, occurred exactly four years, four months, and four days after the death of Dr. King. Both men represent great losses to humanity and to African Americans in particular.

We know of Dr. King’s achievements and sacrifices but so much of Adam Clayton Powell’s record, which has gone unnoticed. Powell is the member of Congress that President Lyndon Baines Johnson went to in order to pass the Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act and the War on Poverty under the Economic Opportunity Act. He is responsible for the Arts and Humanities Endowment Act, Elementary and Secondary Education, Higher Education Act, the Title VI Public Accommodatons provision of the Civil Rights Act and the Equal Employment Opportunity Act.

In all he authored more than 60 major pieces of legislation in his six years as Chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee on which the late Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm also served. He authored the Older Americans Act and the Black Lung Legislation for those suffering from years of working in the nation’s coal mines and he was a voice for all Black Americans in particular, whether or not they lived in New York’s Harlem as his Congressional District.

Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. died of cancer. Martin Luther King, Jr. died of an assassin’s bullet. We must never forget either even as we honor others who came before and after them.

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