Isabel Washington was an actress, known for her roles in St. Louis Blues (1929) and Dave Apollon and His Russian Stars.
Washington was born on May 23, 1908 in Savannah, Georgia. She started her professional career like her sister, Fredi Washington, as a chorus girl. At one time she was a Harlem Cotton Club dancer and performed both on and off Broadway.
Washington met and married Adam Clayton Powell Jr., after being separated from her first husband. When she met Powell, she already had a two-year-old son. Powell’s father disapproved of the marriage because he didn’t want his son to marry a divorced woman who was also a showgirl.
The Powell Cottage, known as “The Bunny Cottage”, was owned by her husband Adam Clayton Powell Jr., the first African American congressman from the east coast since Reconstruction, and also a Reverend at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem. He was a highly influential leader of the Democratic majority during the passage of the civil rights legislation of the 1960’s and 1970’s.
Washington eventually gave up her career as an actress and dancer to support her husband in his career as a minister. After World War II, she found work in the New York public school system as a special education teacher for 30 years. Isabel Washington died on May 4, 2007, in Harlem, New York, days before her 99th birthday.