The Powell Years
On December 30, 1908, in Abyssinian’s 100th anniversary year, the Rev. Dr. Adam Clayton Powell, Sr. became Abyssinian’s 17th pastor. Powell ushered in a new era in the church’s history, known as “The Powell Years.’’
A Social Gospel
Reverend Powell devoted the first 12 years of his pastorate to the spiritual development and reorganization of the church, while promoting the idea of a model church in Harlem that would respond to the religious and social needs of African Americans. His “social gospel” blended social activism with spiritual leadership and set the tone for the church’s ongoing mission of community service. Powell also was an early member of the NAACP, a colleague of Booker T. Washington, and of W.E.B. DuBois, and a participant in many advocacy activities of the Progressive Era.