Search transcripts:    Advanced Search
Notable New     Yorkers
Select     Notable New Yorker

Kenneth ClarkKenneth Clark
Photo Gallery

Session:         Page of 763

was not that there was an Adam Clayton Powell, but rather that there weren't more Adam Clayton Powells -- or that type of leader.


Yeah. I'm no longer surprised at that. And maybe I shouldn't have been all that surprised when I was talking with you. He was unique. He had all of the qualities that would make him in the area. He was tall, he was handsome, he was bright as hell -- as I told you, he not only read that document, which I didn't expect him to read, but he read it and understood it. He was gutsy. He didn't fear anybody. Now, these are not qualities that you find frequently in anybody, white or black. They have not been duplicated in any of the Harlem politicians I have observed pretty closely over the past ten years.

He wasn't asking for anything -- he was taking. Most black politicians, whether they know it or not, are supplicating. They're asking to be accepted. They're wanting to prove that they are as good as. Adam knew damn well he was as good as. He knew he was better.


Yes, he once told me, when he was having trouble with the people downtown, and I think he referred specifically to Mrs. Roosevelt, he said, “I don't need Mrs. Roosevelt; she needs me.”


By the way, you know, he was very right, in most of his -- the closest to Adam that I see on the public stage now is Mohammed Ali. Except Mohammed Ali does not have the educational background and training that Adam had. But in terms of just absolute

© 2006 Columbia University Libraries | Oral History Research Office | Rights and Permissions | Help