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Rev. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Denounces Transit Hiring: 1942 | by Washington Area Spark
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Rev. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Denounces Transit Hiring: 1942

Rev. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. vigorously denounces Capital Transit’s ban on African American streetcar and bus operators at a rally at the Vermont Avenue Baptist Church, 1630 Vermont Ave. NW on Nov. 3, 1942. Powell was a sponsor of the event.


Powell was one of the foremost civil rights leaders of the time and led a bus boycott in Harlem that resulted in the hiring of 200 black workers. He was elected as the first African American member of the New York City Council in 1941 and was elected to Congress in 1944.


Later in his career he modified his progressive views and was charged with corruption in 1967 and barred from his seat. Powell, however, was re-elected and regained his seat in a 1969 Supreme Court ruling. He died in 1972.


For an article on desegregating Capital Transit, see


For additional photos, please see set description, “Fighting Capital Transit Racism 1941-55,"


Photo by Gordon Parks, courtesy of the Library of Congress, call number LC-USW3- 010329-C [P&P]. Additional photos of this event are available for viewing on the Library of Congress website.


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Taken on November 3, 1942