Unpublished Black History


Credit George Tames/The New York Times

The House Bars Adam Clayton Powell Jr.

In January 1967, Representative Adam Clayton Powell Jr., Democrat of Harlem, was prevented from taking his seat in Congress. The House had voted to keep him out while he was being investigated by the Judiciary Committee for a number of scandals, but among some of his constituents, there was a sense that he was being unfairly singled out.

“He was just too powerful for a Negro,” one supporter said. “Keep the faith, baby,” said another — and he did. He took his fight to the Supreme Court, and in 1969 he prevailed in Powell v. McCormack, in which the justices ruled that Representative Powell, being duly elected by the people, could not be voted out of his seat by members of the House.

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