This Featured Civil Rights History #1 looks at the inner workings of the Powell Amendments, a legislative cornerstone and legacy of Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. (Nov. 29, 1908 – Apr. 4, 1972). The most powerful African American legislator of his time served three Districts over 12 terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. History #1 features an audio recording of a telephone conversation between two enormous personalities; an often brash President Lyndon Baines Johnson and a smooth-talking Congressman Powell. The recording captured brewing tensions over a $1.2 billion education bill that Powell was stalling until inclusion of a desired appropriation in an unrelated Appalachia bill. The reader is invited to hear the kind of leadership once known by African Americans in our nation’s capital.
President Johnson and Congressman Powell Phone Conversation (March 1, 1965)
“Powell Amendments” is the term given to a number of initiatives led by Rep. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. to ensure legislation coming out of Capitol Hill addressed African American interests. As Chairman of Education and Labor Committee, Powell routinely challenged other Congressional officials and President Lyndon Johnson in the interest of his constituency in Harlem and for blacks coming into progress on civil rights.
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