Feb. 26, 1963 - Republicans challenged House Democrats today to discipline their colleague from Harlem, Rep. Adam Clayton Powell (pictured). In a scene rarely witnessed on the House floor, Republicans accused Powell of damaging the reputation of the House and bringing Congress “into disrepute.” One Republican called for a “housecleaning.” Democratic leaders gave no sign they will accept the challenge, but they offered no defense of Powell either. There were as many as 100 Democrats on the House floor, but none stood up to answer the GOP criticism or to cite House rules that bars a member from saying anything that reflects on a colleague. Mr. Powell was not on the floor and was not available for comment later. The surprise attack came less than a week after the Negro congressman called a press conference to rebut criticism of him by Sen. John J. Williams (R-Del.). In a recent Senate speech, Williams assailed Powell’s journeying to Europe with two pretty women employees of the House Education and Labor Committee, of which Powell is chairman, and nightclubbing in Paris at Government expense. Powell defended his action on grounds he did only what every other member of Congress does. He also implied that Williams is anti-Negro.
top of page
bottom of page