Election 1944: Adam Powell wins New York nomination to Congress (8-1-44)

The Afro-American (August 12, 1944)


Adam Powell wins New York nomination to Congress

New York –
A promise to institute impeachment proceedings against Congressmen who may try to use their Congressional immunity to preach hatred was made by Adam C. Powell, pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church, on Tuesday, Aug. 1.

By winning both the Republican and Democratic primaries in the 22nd Congressional district on Aug. 1, Mr. Powell, who said he will identify himself with the Democratic Party, is practically assured of election as New York’s first colored representative.

Polled overwhelming lead

On the Democratic ticket, he led Mrs. Sarah Pelham Speaks by almost 6,000 votes, and in the Republican voting by more than 800 votes.

Complete returns, unusually light, from all of the 119 election districts in the Harlem area were:

Powell Speaks
Republican 3,115 2,268
Democratic 8,862 1,934

Incumbent William T. Andrews won by 291 votes over Ruth B. Price in the 12th district for the Manhattan Assembly.

Novel interview held

The Rev. Mr. Powell’s warning on race hatred was given in a novel interview in which he spoke by telephone from his summer home in Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts, while reporters sat in his church office here and a press secretary read questions and took down answers.

His first act against the offender, he said, will be to raise a point of order and give him a lecture on democracy; then, if the practice continues, he will introduce a resolution asking impeachment.

Declaring his nomination “a people’s victory” and a further manifestation of the colored man’s independence in politics, he promised his cooperation to all groups “that work for full equality and full democracy for all people.”

Campaign platform

His platform called for the abolition of the poll tax, the white primary and restrictive covenants, end of segregation in the Armed Forces, federal law to end discrimination in interstate transportation and increased working opportunities.

As corporation manager at the church, he was instrumental in organizing the members for a protest march on City Hall, a movement which won greater recognition for doctors at Harlem Hospital. He succeeded his father as pastor in 1937.


Hillman lauds Powell’s victory in primaries

New York –
CIO Political Action Committee chairman Sidney Hillman hailed the victory of Adam Clayton Powell Jr. in the Congressional primaries here as “a tribute” to his “consistent and courageous work on behalf of the people of Harlem.”

In his congratulatory message to Powell, Hillman further states:

Your constituents realize that the cause of liberalism will best be served through the election of progressive Congressmen committed to the support of President Roosevelt’s leadership.