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History of The Abyssinian Baptist Church

Our history conveys a rich legacy of leadership and faith, our activist commitment to serving the needs of the local and global community and a dedication to our mission of winning more souls for Christ.

Powell Goes to Washington


Rev. Powell was elected to the US Congress, representing the newly formed 22nd District. He went on to serve 14 terms in the House of Representatives.


Powell masterfully combined the Christian message of justice and equality with the militant oratory of a leader over a political movement of African-Americans who sought liberation and equal rights.


A Capitol Man

An adroit politician, Powell successfully wielded power as Chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor. He managed federal legislation that supported the needs of African-Americans. Powell generated or amended nearly 60 public laws to benefit Blacks, the aged, handicapped, Hispanic-Americans, women, and poor whites in the areas of fair employment practices, public education and public school aid, manpower development and training, discrimination against women, increased minimum wage, and the war on poverty. Meanwhile, he challenged the congregation to remain socially and politically active as a vital part of “the Black Revolution.”


Social Activism

AC powell-and-Malcolm-X

Under Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., Abyssinian offered full-time weekday activities for members and the Harlem community, supported the Suehn Industrial School in Liberia, West Africa, and provided consistent spiritual nourishment for all seeking Jesus. The Abyssinian congregation engaged in boycotts and picketing for the elimination of racial discrimination and for the establishment of better healthcare and broader employment opportunities for African Americans.

AC Powell-with-Robinson-Randolf