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Sat, 05.23.1908

Isabelle Washington, Dancer, and Actress born

Isabelle Washington

*Isabel Washington Powell was born on this date in 1908.  She was a Black dancer and actress.  

Isabel Geraldine Washington was born in Savannah, Georgia.  She was one of five children, with her older sister being the actress Fredi Washington.  She was raised primarily in New York City where she pursued a show business career. During the Harlem Renaissance she was a dancer and showgirl in various New York nightclubs, as well as acting on the Broadway stage. She appeared in the 1929 film, "St. Louis Blues" While dancing at the Cotton Club she met Adam Clayton Powell Jr.  

The two were married in 1933 at Abyssinian Baptist Church, where Adam Clayton Powell Sr. served as minister.  It was her second marriage. The first was to photographer Preston Webster. They had one son, Preston, Jr (Later Preston Powell).  She assisted her husband in his early career when he was elected to New York Council, became the senior minister at the Abyssinian Baptist Church, and in 1944, his election to the United States House of Representatives.  In 1937 the couple purchased a house in Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts, a Black community in Martha's Vineyard.  The Powell’s divorced in 1945.  

After her divorce Powell became a special education teacher. She divided her time between Harlem and Martha's Vineyard.  Isabelle Powell died on May 1, 2007 in Harlem.  

Reference:

History Makers.org

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