Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. was the preeminent civil rights leader in the United States from the 1930s through the 50s, and to a great extent through the 60s until his passing in 1972.

As Harlem's Congressman from 1945 until 1971, his legislative and personal efforts drove the desegregation of public schools, of the military, even of the U.S. Capitol itself.

During his chairmanship of the Education and Labor Committee, bills which he oversaw significantly expanded opportunities for all Americans in access to higher education, introduced the minimum wage, and formed the cornerstone of the Great Society antipoverty efforts.