Rev. Adam Clayton Powell, Sr.

Is your surname Powell?

Research the Powell family

Rev. Adam Clayton Powell, Sr.'s Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!


Adam Clayton Powell, Sr.

Birthdate: (88)
Birthplace: Franklin, Virginia, United States
Death: 1953 (87)
Harlem, Manhattan, NY, United States
Place of Burial: Queens, New York, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of father unknown and Sally Dunning Powell
Husband of Mattie F. Shaffer / Powell
Father of Blanche Flethcher King and Adam Clayton Powell Jr.
Half brother of Malinda Powell; William D Powell; Sarah F Powell; Charles Powell; Mark D Powell and 2 others

Occupation: Baptist minister
Managed by: Timothy Steven Jameison
Last Updated:

About Rev. Adam Clayton Powell, Sr.

Religious Leader, Social Reformer, and Author. He was pastor of the historic Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, New York City, New York from 1908 to 1937, and was the father of minister and Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Born to slaves in May of 1865 in Franklin County, Virginia, he converted to Baptism in 1885 and studied law and politics at Virginia Union University from 1888 to 1892, graduating from the theological and academic departments--received his D.D. degree there in 1904. He went on to pastor several churches in St. Paul, Minnesota, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and New Haven, Connecticut, where one of his two children Adam, Jr. was born in 1908. In New Haven, Powell was also a special student at Yale University Divinity School from 1895 to 1896.

In December of 1908, he was called to pastor Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York. During his tenure as pastor he managed to increase the congregation substantially.

By 1923, a new building had been constructed, and he was responsible for building one of the first community recreation centers in Harlem.

He received an honorary D.D. degree from Howard University (Washington, D.C.) in 1924.

He also established a social/religious education program and by the mid-1930s, Abyssinian Baptist Church, boasting 14,000 members, had one of the largest Protestant congregations in America. During the Depression of the 1930s he campaigned to feed the poor and for better jobs and city services. Powell was also actively involved in the struggle against racism and lectured on race relations. He further was a founder of the National Urban League and a early leader in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

See Colonel William P. Rend for more info.

view all

Rev. Adam Clayton Powell, Sr.'s Timeline

May 5, 1865
Franklin, Virginia, United States
Age 32
New Haven, Connecticut, United States
November 26, 1908
Age 43
New Haven, CT, USA
Age 87
Harlem, Manhattan, NY, United States
Queens, New York, United States