NYC - Harlem: Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building Plaza - Higher Ground
This 12-foot bronze statute, honoring civil rights activist and Harlem congressman Adam Clayton Powell Jr., was unveiled in the plaza of the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office building in 2005. Called Higher Ground, the monument by sculptor Branly Cadet was inspired by a quote from the late minister and politican: "Press forward at all times, climbing forward toward that higher ground of the harmonious society that shapes the laws of man to the laws of God."
Rev Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. (November 29, 1908 – April 4, 1972), was the first African American to ascend to a position of power in the United States Congress. Elected to the United States House of Representatives representing the 22nd congressional district in 1945, he was the first African American Congressman from New York, and the first from any Northern state other than Illinois. After 15 years in congress, he became chair of the Education and Labor Committee in 1961, presiding over federal programs for minimum wage increases, education and training for the deaf, vocational training and standards for wages and work hours, as well as aid to elementary and secondary education. He orchestrated passage of the backbone of President John Kennedy's "New Freedom" legislation. He would also become instrumental in the passage of President Lyndon B. Johnson's "Great Society" social programs.