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Isabel Powell

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Information about Isabel Powell

Profile image of Isabel Powell

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Dancer
Teacher\'s Aide

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
Seafood
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
5/23/1908
Birth Location:
Savannah, Georgia

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Dancer
Teacher\'s Aide

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
Seafood
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
5/23/1908
Birth Location:
Savannah
See how Isabel Powell is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Isabel Washington Powell was born in Savannah, Georgia, May 23, 1908, one of five children born to Hattie Washington, a dancer, and Robert T. Washington, a postal worker. At a young age, Powell was sent to a Catholic boarding school run by the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament in Cornwell Heights, Pennsylvania. After finishing her formal education, Powell moved to New York City and followed in the footsteps of an older sister, Fredi Washington, to become a dancer and actress. Powell performed as a showgirl in the nightclubs of Harlem during the Harlem Renaissance before dancing, singing, and acting in three Broadway shows in the late 1920s and early 1930s.

In 1934, Powell married Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. and assisted him in his election to the New York Council and as senior pastor of Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem. In 1944, Powell helped her husband become the first African American elected to the United States Congress from the east coast. In 1945, the Powells’ marriage ended in divorce. Powell went on to serve as a teacher’s aide in New York’s Harlem community public schools for over thirty years.

From 1945 on, Powell had a significant social and community presence on the Island of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts; she was noted for bringing together people of various races, ages, classes, and cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Powell was also recognized for promoting the political legacy of Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.

Powell was the mother of one son, Preston Powell. Powell passed away on May 1, 2007, just shy of her ninety-ninth birthday.

See how Isabel Powell is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Isabel Powell's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Isabel Powell lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Isabel Powell describes her career in performance
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Isabel Powell remembers her parents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Isabel Powell describes her maternal grandparents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Isabel Powell describes her siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Isabel Powell remembers growing up in Savannah, Georgia
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Isabel Powell describes her paternal grandmother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Isabel Powell remembers Habersham Street in Savannah, Georgia
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Isabel Powell remembers attending Sisters of the Blessed Sacrement in Bensalem, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Isabel Powell recalls moving to New York City when she was seventeen
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Isabel Powell remembers meeting Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Isabel Powell remembers meeting and marrying Adam Clayton Powell Jr.
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Isabel Powell recalls spending summers in Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Isabel Powell remembers how she met Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Isabel Powell describes her favorite activities
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Isabel Powell describes her family
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Isabel Powell talks about her sister, Fredi Washington
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Isabel Powell describes significant items at her home in Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Isabel Powell reflects upon her old age
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Isabel Powell reflects upon her life
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Isabel Powell recalls meeting President William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Isabel Powell remembers her visit from Joseph Carter
  • Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Isabel Powell talks about her hobbies
  • Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Isabel Powell talks about the importance of love
  • Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Isabel Powell describes how she would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 2 Story: 15 - Isabel Powell shares her famous Bloody Mary recipe
  • Tape: 2 Story: 16 - Isabel Powell narrates her photographs