Adam Clayton Powell IV to Deliver Keynote Address at Lehman Black History Month Commemoration Feb. 24

The Honorable Adam Clayton Powell, IV will be the keynote speaker for this year’s Black History Month, Martin Luther King Jr. tribute on Wednesday February 24, at 11 a.m. in the Lovinger Theatre at Lehman College. It’s part of this year’s Urban Male Leadership Program’s (UMLP) distinguished speaker series, an annual event in collaboration with the school’s Department of African and African American Studies. This year’s theme is the “Legacy of African-American Leadership for The Present and The Future.” The event is open to the general public.

Powell served as a member of the New York State Assembly from 2001 to 2010 and the New York City Council from 1992 to 1997. He represented East Harlem, parts of the Upper West Side, and the South Bronx. He is currently among eight Democrats running in a June congressional primary, seeking to succeed longtime Congressman Charles Rangel, who is retiring.  Powell was born and grew up in Santurce, Puerto Rico. He graduated from Howard University in 1984 and Fordham Law School in 1988. During his time in the assembly he also served as chairman of the Angelo Del Toro Puerto Rican/Hispanic Youth Leadership Institute, which brings together more than 150 high school students from across the state for a three-day conference concluding with a mock session in the assembly chamber and a scholarship dinner.

Powell’s legendary father, the late Reverend and Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., served in the U.S. House of Representatives between 1944 and 1970 and chaired the U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor. He was defeated in his 1970 reelection bid by Rangel.

Past event speakers have included eminent sociologist and educator Dr. Samuel Betances.

The UMLP is also hosting the Black History Month Film and Discussion on Wednesday, February 17, from 3 – 5 p.m. The film is called “Woodlawn” and is set in 1973 Birmingham, Alabama.  It recounts the story of Tony Nathan, a gifted African-American high school football player battling racial tensions on and off the field. As violence and anger erupted in the city, Woodlawn football coach Tandy Gerelds,  brought in an  outsider to speak to his players. His message of hope and love, leads to a spiritual awakening that inspires Nathan, his teammates and other members of the community,  to overcome the hate that surrounds them.

Last May, President Barack Obama came to Lehman to announce the formation of the “My Brother’s Keeper Alliance,” a new independent nonprofit foundation that aims to address opportunity gaps among minority boys and young men. During the president’s appearance, Lehman President Ricardo Fernández said “I am proud to note that here at Lehman College we also have a very successful initiative called The Urban Male Leadership Program that has furthered that mission by mobilizing our talented students to go out into the community and speak with middle and high school students.”