This is the statue of Adam Clayton Powell Jr., who represented Harlem in Congress from 1945 to 1970. The bronze sculpture depicts Powell striding dramatically up an incline in the plaza in front of the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building in Harlem. The statue of Powell is 12 feet high and sits on a cylindrical pedestal made of stainless steel and black granite. In his right hand, Powell has a copy of the Congressional Record. Powell is depicted moving uphill. The piece was sculpted by Branly Cadet, a New York native. It’s named “Higher Ground,” apparently inspired by a quote from Powell, “Press forward at all times, climbing forward toward that higher ground of the harmonious society that shapes the laws of man to the laws of God.” The memorial was dedicated on Feb. 17, 2005.
Powell was born Nov. 29, 1908. He was the first African-American man to be elected to Congress from New York. He served from 1945 to 1971, serving for a time as the chairman of the Committee on Education and Labor. He died on April 4, 1972.