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Case #408

Adam Clayton Powell Jr.: Picketing leads to reinstatement of black doctors


Adam Clayton Powell Jr. (1908 1972) grew up in Harlem and spent his life fighting for civil rights for African Americans. He used his charismatic and flamboyant personality while in the U.S. House of Representatives to demand integration of everything, from the Capitol dining room to the armed forces.

Before he became a national figure, Powell was a minister and an organizer in New York City. While working as a pastor of Harlem's famous Abyssinian Baptist Church in 1931, Powell took up the fight when five Black doctors were fired from Harlem Hospital because of their race. Powell organized picket lines outside Harlem Hospital and led a march of 6,000 on New York's City Hall.

These actions led to the reinstatement of the five doctors and wider reforms at the hospital, including integration of the entire hospital staff under a Black medical doctor. This small victory - and Powell's life contributions are ingredients that add up over time to earthshaking change. (complete text)


Location: New York City, US
Action: Boycott/Strike
Setting: Developed World, Urban
Extent of Action: Local
Issues: Human Rights, Worker Rights
Year(s): 1931
Outcome successful
Source: `The Power of the People: Active Nonviolence in the United States by Robert Cooney and Helen Michalo


Prepared By: alb 1/02
Rating: 1
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