Review on the documentary Adam Clayton Powell
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Reviewon the documentary Adam Clayton Powell
The documentary on Adam Clayton Powell reveals some of theaccomplishments he made while he was a Congressman. Being a Blackmanmeant that he had to deal with the oppressive policies and his firstmission was opposing such issues and ensuring that his people got anequal opportunity to succeed. Unfortunately, his behavior did notmatch with the positive changes he was fighting for. This essayargues that Powell was not a great leader because he engaged in somecontroversial activities that violated the social ethics that theauthority figures are supposed to respect and act as the role modelsto the younger people.
In particular, the documentary captures the life of Adam ClaytonPowell while highlighting the changes he made to the society and hisweaknesses that led to his downfall in the end. More important, hewas the first black Congressman that came from Harlem, and he usedthat opportunity to channel the challenges that his people wereexperiencing. He even kept criticizing any policies that seemdiscriminative and urged the White Congressmen to support his bid ofmaking America a better place by erasing such oppressive policies(Kilberg). In the process, he acquired the trust of his people thatgave him a chance to represent them. However, the documentaryhighlights some of the issues that undermined his accomplishments andpresented a negative image that was not expected from a leader ofsuch a position. Holding such a seat meant that he was expected to bethe role model since some of the younger individuals looked up to him(Kilberg). Powell never missed a night on Broadway where she hadmultiple women or even one if his three wives. He did not look at hisarrogance, sleek cigars or even the trickery as self-destructiveevents. For instance, he was once quoted saying how he had the prideof a Black Baptist preacher and even God could not control him(Kilberg). Such utterances showed how he was less likely to changeand lead his people without any controversies. He knew that hisbrilliance and intelligence to tackle issues concerning the Blackpeople will win him more votes. In reality, people were gettingfrustrated because of his current behaviors that depicted utterarrogance and lack of morals. The fact that he controlled huge sumsof funds and favored his friends with endless perks made him looklike a leader that did not acknowledge the social values. His ethicalviolations even turned his people against him and he was consideredan enemy of the society that did not consider the interests of thesociety.
Powell was a courageous and intelligent leader, but, he ignored themoral values that led to his downfall. At first, it seemed like theWhite people were engaging in a witch hunt to undermine hisleadership because he had opposed some of the oppressive policiesthat were against the Black community. However, with time, even hisloyal followers saw how their hero had turned into a hopeless personthat needed their support. The images reveal how he engaged in someinappropriate activities and did not value the social ethics thatexpect everyone to be respectful and support everyone. Instead, hisdeeds were quite opposite to other leaders such as Martin Luther Jr.that acted as role models to the younger individuals. For instance, aleader is expected to stay away from scandals and have a lesscontroversial time in office. The reckless lifestyle made even hisloyal supporters to ignore his promises. Despite leading some of theimportant changes such as opposing the union bosses, racist senators,and the discriminative policies, his people could not take any of thescandalous lifestyles he was leading. Perhaps, they wanted a leaderthat could not tarnish the image of the Black people and behave likea child that did not have any manners. The documentary revealsPowell’s life from an unbiased perspective and the producerhighlights his accomplishments and outlines the issues that led tohis downfall. The scenario clearly proves that being a leader alsoneeds a proper character that considers the social values and stayingaway from controversy. People will ignore the promises and theprevious achievements, when some issues undermine the positive imagethat the leader had. Powell also experiences the same issue, and itbecomes quite difficult to persuade the Harlem residents to vote forhim again.
In conclusion, the documentary shows how Powell undermined hisleadership by engaging in controversial activities. In the end, heeven lost the trust of his people because they looked at him as anenemy of the Black community. He had the intelligence and courage tolead his people into getting the civil rights that they were seeking.He had even led his fellow Black Congressmen in coercing the otherstatesmen into ignoring the policies that were discriminative innature. He began engaging in scandalous dealings such as favoring hisfriends and offering them endless perks. His promiscuous behaviorsalso include one of the issues that led to his downfall because hisenemies used such accusations to paint him as a person that did notdeserve such leadership positions. In the process, even his loyalfollowers knew that his ethical violations proved that he did notdeserve a position in the Congress because he did not value thesocial expectations.
Kilberg, Richard,Director. Adam Clayton Powell. United States, 1989.
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