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Author: Subject: "King of the Cats," a biography of Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. by Wil Haygood
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[*] posted on 11.23.2013 at 05:09 PM


Before finishing this "book report" (lol) - and trust, Powell's last years, both public AND private, are as dramatic, flamboyant, and instructive as in any period of his life, I'd like to make a few observations. I do this because 1) we're living in a different era with different "social" rules, and 2) for those sad black folk who will look at this flawed man and say:

"See! His downfall was his OWN fault!
He was a hoe! An arrogant hoe!
He shoulda been smart and stayed beneath the white folks' radar!
He shoulda acted like a gentleman Uncle Tom and not the most powerful politician in Congress that he was, i.e., not acted like other powerful but WHITE politicians!
He shoulda swallowed his pride and bile and gave the bag woman and her handlers their pound of flesh - his false pride!

Yes, he "shoulda" done many things differently, acted in many ways differently, played the game differently.... but then he wouldn't have been Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., now would he? :dunno:

The Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. who passed 60 bills that affected the lives of ALL Americans, and to the betterment of BLACK Americans during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, more bills than any other congressman of that era, black OR white.
The Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., who passed more bills through congress, period, than any black politician before or since.
The Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. who not only rammed The Civil Rights Act of 1964 through a recalcitrant Congress but, as EVERY politician and pundit agrees, that without whom, the Act would never even have been passed!
The Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. who showed he wasn't "skeered" of the homosexual, cross-dressing, White Power COINTELPRO mastermind who targeted black groups and leaders, especially, and gave YOU/us a chuckle when he invited him to appear at a testimonial for a black political leader.
The Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., who BEFORE the Obamas (as well as eclipsing them in grandeur and style), with his wife, Hazel Scott, in particular, was a beacon of "glamour" and Black Love to New Yorkers and Harlem blacks (if to no one outside NY :whistle: ).
The Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., who was a MAN, a BLACK man who went on the attack against any man of any race who messed with his wife/wives (in the book, Hargood gave examples of Powell's swift and oft-times, brutal responses.... and not hesitating to use the raw power of his position in Congress).

I said we're living in a time with different "social" rules.... We can smirk at Powell as being a big ole man-hoe today. In the 1950s and 60s, however, it was no disgrace to be a man-hoe. The beloved and revered POTUS, John F. Kennedy was prolly the biggest man-hoe ever took office. The double standard was the rule of the day; good women and man-hoes were the "ideal." Becoming a walking sack of disease was a male "perk" of success. Even virgins would tell you they wanted an "experienced" husband. These notions and the angst (you 'gave in' to him? Now you're a nasty girl!) and societal problems they produced (failed marriages and cynical children without a voice watching their parent(s)' shenanigans) gave rise to the Women's Liberation Movement and the Sexual Revolution.... but that's another topic. Point is, in the 1950s and early 1960s, Powell was not out of step with the country, sexually. Indeed, he was ADMIRED for his whorishness!

Finally, I said Powell was one lucky son-of-a-gun! I saw a clip on TV of the quarterback of the 1984 Bears super bowl champions. He was doing something for a charity. He and another player were throwing a football at something like a tire suspended from a tree branch. One of them missed. His comment was: "I'd rather have luck than talent any day!" And it's true. Talent is unlikely to take you to the top in most endeavors. Without a little "luck," you prolly won't make it to the top. A great example is the black guy who was about to beat Powell in a Harlem race. Powell "lucked up" on a document that turned most people away from the brutha and he, Powell, won. Hargood gave the guy's background. He was as dedicated to black people and our liberation as was Powell. Yet, throughout both their lives, Powell had "luck".... and he didn't. Men of equal talents, but one consistently "missed" obstacles (think passing for white in 1930s, lynch-happy America and suffering no dire consequences), while the other was as consistently beat down when he went against the grain (always racism and always in support of black people).

Point? Not everything is within our power; not everything good that happens to us is due to our "own" efforts. Some things that happen to us come from OUTSIDE ourselves (fate/destiny?). Just as "some" things good happen to us no matter what we do (or don't do), everything that goes wrong in our lives is NOT our "own fault," either. Yes, Powell could be a prick. Yes Powell was an opportunist, even a "crass" opportunist, as well as a liar when it suited his purposes. Yes, Powell was a manipulator. Yes, Powell acted like the Congress was his own personal fiefdom and treated powerful white elected officials like peasants. But don't be so quick to say that his personal failings were the SOURCE of his downfall. :nono:

Powell exhibited EVERY SINGLE ONE of those personal failings on his way UP! He was an opportunist and liar when he passed for white at Colgate University in his teens. He was a manipulator, working on the black "brotherhood" emotions of his shunned until he needed them, :sarcastic: fellow black students. He acted like he was God's gift to women and treated his FAITHFUL wives like they were his oafs! Not to mention the great Abyssinian Church as his own personal fiefdom and its founding members, 20 and 30 years his senior who sat on its board, as his court. If those negative attributes didn't override the "positives" that led to his success (his love of and working HARD for black people)for nearly 60 years, why should they be the SOLE reason for his downfall? Plenty of white leaders in business, industry AND government, world-wide, have/had Powell's negatives, yet they were never ganged-up on :gangup: and taken down for them. What "slavers" who held generations in human bondage in America, i.e., had fiefdoms and peasant/slaves, were ganged-up on and taken down by anyone? :ummm:

So as we continue, rather than judge Powell and come to simpleminded, historically false conclusions on his fate, be instructed by his life and what happened to him that was OUTSIDE of his control. Those things that could happen to anyone, lucky or 'if it wasn't for bad luck wouldn't have no luck at all', who are born black in America.




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[*] posted on 1.19.2014 at 07:02 AM
The Expulsion; white congressmen kick Powell out of Congress and leave Harlem with NO congressional representation


Sam Rayburn, Speaker of the House of Representatives, died in 1961. John McCormack took his place.

Quote:

Many of the young congressmen, like Frank Thompson and Jim Brademas and James O'Hara, did not give their blind loyalty to John McCormack because they wanted not upend the rules of the House. The very rules that had kept the southern Democrats in power for so many years.


It was the southerners that practically "codified" the seniority system whereby all the 'plums' went to the oldest members. The new congressmen wanted to get some of those plums without waiting 50 years in line; they wanted the seniority system scrapped. A beneficiary of the system, 70 year-old McCormack wanted to preserve it. But he had a problem with Powell. McCormack was on the side of "Labor" and desperately wanted a bill that would limit on-site picketing. He told the Johnson administration that he would get the bill through the Education and Labor committee, in tact. Powell, however, had other ideas - he held the bill hostage because labor leaders would not agree to his demands that blacks be given a fair opportunity in union jobs. Thus, when it came to "disciplining" Powell, McCormack was all for it.

Quote:

But when considering how to measure a member's intraparty betrayal against the interests of the whole House, McCormack chose to give his loyalty to the institution. The member, in this case, Powell, would have to be spared at all costs. McCormack knew that was what Rayburn would have done, what Garner would have encouraged, what CONSTITUTIONAL precedent called for. John McCormack planned to stop the Young Turks' foolish talk of refusing Adam Clayton Powell his seat.



Powell's "lone wolf" autocratic ways alienated even some who would be friends, such a Richard Bolling, the powerful member of the House Rules Committee. In addition to traveling the East Coast as a young man with the jazz impresario John Hammond who discovered Billie Holiday, and (Bolling) described by some as a cross between "a Communist and a gangster"....

Quote:

In Kansas City he was the first to organize a branch of Americans for Democratic Action. The move made him no friend among those who were used to political bosses


Powell was also one of the first members of the House to speak out against Senator Joseph McCarthy (of the House on UnAmerican activities witch-hunt)

Quote:

and later, he brought his energy and wisdom to the Democratic Study Group, liberal House members who wished to unlock legislation that had been blocked during the Eisenhower years.

But Bolling found that his quest to pass legislation was thwarted at times by the liberal congressman from Harlem and his Powell amendment. Richard Bolling did not wish to be preached to from the floor of the House about the direction or depth of his own conscience. He wanted to defeat the Dixiecrats as much as Powell did. He saw the light in their eyes when they crowded around Powell, mischievously voting for his amendment, knowing that t would kill any legislation they did not like and at the same time make them appear to be voting for civil rights. This little trick enraged Bolling, who yearned for Powell to realize that those who were manipulating his amendment were doing so out of vindictiveness.


Here I have to disagree. Like I said before, Hargood interviewed these people, personally, so perhaps he feels too "warmly" for them to call a spade a spade. Unlike Bolling who would compromise black people's aspirations for some piece of legislation to pass, Powell NEVER would. The "Powell amendment" was tacked onto bills to ensure that black people were included when it came to jobs for whatever the bill was about. Say a water plant in Georgia. Powell would tack on an amendment to the bill saying black people had to be employed in the construction of the plant. Powell was a lil too shrewd to not know what the Dixicrat mofos were up to. I think he was just Powell being Powell and saying with his "amendment" to: CUT MY PEOPLE IN OR CUT IT OUT!!! He did it to bills submitted by Republicans AND by his own party, the Democrats, holding bills hostage, essentially, unless they included guarantees of employment for blacks.

At any rate, Powell had backed an opponent against Bolling in a NY election; thus Bolling would not go out on a limb for him in his hour of need, in any case.
Quote:

There was an additional factor in Bolling's decision to play no major role in the effort to save Powell. One of the goals of the Democratic Study Group was to diminish the powers of chairmen. Powell believed wholeheartedly in the seniority system, which had ensured his rise, and the study groups's way of expressing displeasure was to gather enough votes to change the House rules. Bolling was their spiritual leader.


So the stage was set:
Quote:

...so much was coming together, at the expense of turmoil: McCormack's power was brittle (NOTE: little force); the young liberals were angry; the House rules were under attack ; and the most powerful black politician in America embodied all of Richard Bolling's frustrations with the House, Adam Clayton Powell now represented the old guard, autocratic power.




Among the Young Turks was Lionel Van Deerlin. He had been a TV commentator in California before being elected to the House in 1960. He looked around, saw how the seniority system would block him for possibly DECADES from achieving any real power. Accustomed to the spotlight, he was determined not to take a backseat, to be anonymous in any arena.



One last note on the so-called Young Turks. Like the Tea Party, they didn't arise until a black man was in power. Chicagoans saw the exact same thing when the first black head of Cook County Hospital took office. Before the brutha (who, unlike Powell, couldn't have cared less about the black doctors in the hospital.... to his bitter regret :sarcastic: ), white doctors, whom the newspapers labeled "Young Turks," said nothing about how the hospital was operated. Once he came in, they all of a sudden, wanted changes that necessitated him giving up some of his power to THEM. So even though Hargood acts as if the white congressmen were "legitimate" I'm reading and thinking "racism." At any rate, Speaker of the House, McCormack, waited too long to make his presence felt in the House.

Quote:


But he knew what he had to do; he had to save the House from itself. (After a hiatus,) He had returned to Congress with a plan. Powell was going to be saved; the Young Turks were going to be taught a lesson; tradition would prevail.



McCormack came up with what he called a "two-rocket" plan. The first rocket would be to strip Powell of his chairmanship (see?), thus satisfying the Republicans. The second rocket would be have Powell seated in the House, satisfying his national constituency and the Democrats. Since there were few blacks in his district to get upset, McCormack recruited Morris Udall of Arizona to lead the fight to strip Powell, one of his colleagues, of power.



Powell also had opposition from his own party, the Democrats.

Quote:


They were new Democrats who had suffered under the archaic rules of the seniority system, those who had been made nervous by Powell's overtures to the black power proponents; those who were tired of the Esther James stories. They had grown weary of trying to contact Powell and having to go through his assistant, Chuck Stone, the mercurial figure who served as Powell's liaison with the black power groups, who thought the congressman's phones were bugged, who mixed his martinis. Udall's motion to strip Powell of his chairmanship was adopted swiftly by House Democrats.



Again, b.s. on the Esther James stories. Powell had done nothing that half the congressmen had done before.... except pay off Esther James. And if she weren't in the mix, they would have found something else to get the colored guy on. :roll:



At any rate, Powell was stunned. Despite all the legislative victories he had racked up for Kennedy, then Johnson? (she said sarcastically)



Quote:


It was such a rare move to deny a chairman his chairmanship as to be near-unprecedented.



And now all that power was gone. Next up, Powell would have to face the entire Congress; his seat itself was at stake.

On January 10, the vote was to be taken. Democrats maintained a 248-187 majority in the House. It was up to Morris Udall, a MORMON, to keep Powell's seat.



Quote:


Powell moved along the railing in the rear, fully aware that Udall would have to carry the day. He strolled over to the Arizona congressman. "I want my seat, baby," he said. Then he showed Udall a speech he had written on a piece of paper. Udall thought it so eloquent and contrite that he assured Powell that he wouldf have no problem retaining his seat after giving such a speech.



Btw, to PROVE the b.s. of the proceedings,



Quote:


2 powerful House members, Wayne Hays and Emmanuel Celler of the Judiciary Committee, had warned their colleagues that to refuse Powell his seat would be to ATTACK THE CONSTITUTION. Even though Celler had to swallow his pride to defend Powell who pulled one of his "snide" attacks on the man, Celler, ever the lawyer, got up on the House floor and insisted Powell had to be seated because he had been duly elected.



Powell's detractors (Jesus, take the wheel! :roll: ) stood up, one after another and

Quote:


were passionate in claiming that their upcoming vote would have nothing to do with race, that they were merely reflecting the sentiments of the American public.





After listening to the edgy angry tones of his "peers" demanding he be kicked out of Congress, Powell stood, crumpled the paper containing his speech and put them on blast. Udall was dismayed. His and McCormack's plan to have Powell stripped of his powerful chairmanship to save his seat in the House was in jeopardy. It was up to Van Deerlin who stood, and looked around the chamber for Powell...

Quote:


Their eyes locked, because Powell was looking directly at him. Powell hoped that his stature in the House would prevail, that the young congressman, a fellow Democrat, would not do as he threatened. But Van Deerlin did, and his utterance, his opposition to the seating of "the gentleman from New York," had to be voted on.





Note: Powell had started to unravel when the proceedings were first announced. When Van Deerlin made the motion to kick him out, he was pretty much just hanging on.



The vote was swift and brutal. 365 in favor to deny Powell his seat and 64 opposed. And remember, there were 284 Dems, Powell's party, voting. The upshot was

Quote:


So much seemed to have gone wrong that a bit of the very foundation of Congress itself seemed to have cracked. The Speaker had been badly bruised; seniority had been dismissed. As one congressman said, "the people, not the House, decided who would serve in Congress; the concept was older than James Madison who had written the words." The 2 NY Senators, Robert Kennedy and Jacob Javits, voiced outrage that Powell had been denied his seat. Newspapers across the country were outraged. McCormack chose Rep. Celler to get together a bi-partisan committee that recommended Powell lose the chairmanship but be given back his seat. It was put a vote. Defeated 222 to 202. Again, it was the first time in history the House had EVER ignored the recommendations of a bipartisan committee. Next came the Curtis resolution for outright expulsion. It was voted on and passed 248 to 176. Celler felt "prejudice was at work." LOL!!!



<iframe width="420" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/bZR8iyu26kg" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>




No black leaders rallied to Powell with the exception of A. Philip Randolph. He immediately got on the phones, but to his surprise, no one was excited by the outster. Powell had disdained, derided, condescended, and in the case of Dr. King, "blackmailed" too many for too long. Powell went back to Bimini (his island "paradise" getaway).


But damn the South and damn YT! Powell would rise again! :power:



P.S.
Once again, the embed only shows after clicking on "quote" then "preview."

To go directly to YouTube:


http://youtu.be/IK40WFRwmjs




Out of Love, you can speak with straight fury
Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it
Choose your hypnotist well.....
Ergo,
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[*] posted on 1.28.2014 at 10:08 AM
Powell re-elected - Harlem sends Powell back to the House of Reps seated, but without any power


http://youtu.be/IK40WFRwmjs

The above video should give a wake up call to all black people who believe whites follow "the rules." Rules, THEY made. The wake up call is precisely that - white people make rules FOR white people, not black. When those rules work for blacks and whites "feel" they're working against them, whites break the rules, change the rules, dispose of the rules.

As you watch and LISTEN to Powell on the YouTube, think of President Obama.

Adam Clayton Powell:

I think the real reason that they did what they did to me which has never been done to anyone in the history of the U.S..... was because I was number 7 in the Democratic path and everybody ahead of me was 80 years of age or older, and they knew that my loyal people in this area where I've lived all my life would do just what they did the other day. It would be just a question of time that they would have to say 'what are you going to do with the #1 seniority man in the House. Are you going to make him the Speaker or not?' And, I figure that would taken about 6 years if they had not cut me out. Now the Speaker of the House is end in line to be the President of the U.S. That's the law. So now they don't care if I come back. They have interrupted my seniority so I'm no longer a threat to WHITE POWER.

#1. If Powell's scenario had come true, i.e., the 80 year old codgers in the House of Reps all died out leaving him as most senior man, thus Speaker of the House.... and should the POTUS and Vice POTUS died, leaving him President of the U.S..... he wouldn't have been expelled/impeached; he'd have been assassinated. Unlike Obama, he would never have kissed white ass. LIKE Obama, anything he proposed for black people would have been girdlocked in the House of Reps, so he would've been as effective (HA!) as Obama... which results in getting NOTHING done for black people. :no:

#2. His example shows us the folly of elective politics setting us free. Never has. Never will. Nobody, and I repeat, NOBODY has ever won their freedom at the ballot box. :no:

#3. His example shows us the folly of believing that whites in institutions set up BY and FOR white people "play fair." To white people's way of thinking, a "token" is cool. But a token with POWER must go! :yes:

And most important:

#4. If you're going to be a diva (like Powell), you damn well better be a star..... in your OWN galaxy!

Play the game, but know it's stacked against you. In that way, you can maneuver those CHESS pieces to achieve your aim. But never, EVER believe whites in power won't "cheat" to keep you from winning it all.


Beginning at 1:22, don't know the white guy's name, but he lays the ILLEGALITY of the white House of Representatives' action in expelling, then stripping Powell of his seniority, out on the table:

"We've seated the halt, the lame and the blind. We've seated over the 180 years alcoholics and people who were guilty of immorality. We've seated people who were guilty of tax evasion. We've seated all kinds of people. But under the Constitutional philosophy, we leave to the district what kind of man they want and as long as he's out of jail we ought to see him and let the district correct it in due time, and they usually do."




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Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it
Choose your hypnotist well.....
Ergo,
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lol.gif posted on 4.15.2014 at 05:59 AM
Continuing (I'm doing my darndest to finish this!)....


With no representative in Congress, a special election was held in Harlem. Powell slipped back into the country (there was still a warrant out for his arrest), signed the papers to throw his hat into the ring, then flew back to Bimini. On April 11, he won by a 7-1 margin.


However, Powell being Powell, he would not retake his seat, meek and chastened:


Quote:
He would have to do as he had done when he first arrived in Congress in 1945; he would have to do exactly what Rayburn had cautioned him not to do: he would have to throw a bomb. Adam Clayton Powell was intent on holding Congress hostage; once again he would pin the conscience of House Liberals to the wall. He would refuse to show up in January, 1968, choosing self-imposed exile and depriving the liberals of their chance to put the House back in order.




While in self-imposed exile on the island of Bimini, a strip of land 7 miles long and a mile wide, sitting 60 miles off the coast of Miami, Powell reached out to the Black Power advocates of the day, including the man who coined the term, Stokely Carmichael (Seku Toure).


(Powell's Black Power speech - Caveat: Powell's definition if Black Power is ridiculous, designed to NOT "offend" white college kids. Black Power is exactly what it means: Power for BLACK people **sigh* )

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/rUss0PNA8Qk" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>



While he surrounded himself in public with black leather jacketed, beret-wearing young bruthas, and was quick with the black power salute, Powell was ever the mulatto. With his latest g/f, the beauty queen Corrine Huff acting as his manager while living with him on Bimini, Powell was hurting for money. Corrine booked a series of speeches for him across America. The itinerary began on the West Coast, then the Midwest and from there they would swoop South.

Quote:

Powell wanted badly to "awaken" white young people" to the movement, to pass on to them whatever vestiges were left of his own rebellious vigor.

Speech at Florida A&M:
Quote:

"I'm calling this evening for a total revolution of young people, black and white, against the sick society of America."


While he derided Dr. King and his non-violent strategy - a strategy Powell had used himself during marches he led in Harlem for jobs in the 1940's :sarcastic: :


Quote:

Powell had long been a critic (and an angry one of late) of King, but he realized that King possessed extraordinary gifts.



During his trips to college campus to speak on Black Power and how whites should embrace it ( :faint: ), campus security men were sending reports to the Justice Department where it was feared Powell was trying to incite riots. Not the case at all. Powell's bank account was nearly depleted and he needed the speaker's fees. Scheduled to speak at Duke University, Powell suffered a mild seizure in his hotel room and was hospitalized. At the time, he heard that King had been assassinated in Memphis, TN where he'd gone to help organize sanitary workers.


Powell returned to NYC for the primary. He won, but the turnout was low (11,052) and the margin of victory, 6,665 to 4,387, was "slim by the majestic standards of the past." His star was fading. Still, he was Powell. As when he was walking the streets of Manhattan with Muhammad Ali, who had been stripped of his boxing championship for refusing to go to Vietnam, Powell declared grandly:


Quote:

"We're here to shake hands with people and show them what the land of the free and the home of the brave has done to two champions," Powell said. "I'm not in Congress and he's not in the ring."



On election day, Powell won by 36,795 votes to 7,290 votes. On the surface it was a landslide, but in 1964, 94,200 people had voted for Powell. 2 years later, in l966, 45,300 had given him their support. Powell's star was fading, fast.


ADDENDUM: Once again, the video isn't coming up. Hit "quote" then "preview" to see the video. Either that, or click on this link:

http://youtu.be/rUss0PNA8Qk
**sigh**




Out of Love, you can speak with straight fury
Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it
Choose your hypnotist well.....
Ergo,
the blue pill (illusion), or the red pill (reality)
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