Adam's Belle: A Memoir of Love Without Bounds

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9780981610214: Adam's Belle: A Memoir of Love Without Bounds
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Adam's Belle is a first-person narrative of Isabel's life from her early childhood days as a baby drama queen in her hometown of Savannah, Georgia to her stage debut at Harlem's famous Cotton Club in the 1920's. Isabel soon meets a real life Prince Charming Rev. Adam Clayton Powell Jr. The two fall madly in love and plan to share their heaven on earth for the rest of their lives. She helps him to grow as an individual and a civil rights activist and is considered as the Queen of Harlem as the First Lady of Abyssinian Baptist Church. Eventually, Adam decides to run for Congress and becomes the first black Congressman representing Harlem. With much pain and agony, Isabel learns that not all fairy tales have a happy ending. Ultimately, she develops the strength to celebrate herself and even overcome breast cancer on her 100-year journey to becoming a true living legend. Belle's older sister was Fredi Washington (star of the Academy Award nominated 1934 film Imitation of Life ).

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About the Author:

Joyce Burnett has always been interested in music, entertainment and fitness. She knew little, however, about the dynamic sounds and lifestyle of the Harlem Renaissance until she ran head on into Isabel Washington Powell, the glamorous showgirl from the 1920's who married the late Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. From the moment they met, Joyce was enthralled by the vivid pictures Belle painted of her life. The motivating factor for Joyce in writing this book was that Belle's story absolutely had to be included in the historical record. Belle's life was truly fantastic and it was the best story that had never been told. Joyce began this project shortly after publishing an article on her experience as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, and Mali. She worked closely with Belle for almost ten years to record this incredible story. Belle was very pleased with the early draft of Adam's Belle, but sadly, she passed away before her story was published. Joyce holds degrees from Wesleyan University, Johns Hopkins, and American University. She remains an avid fitness enthusiast.

Review:

I had been a summer resident of Oak Bluffs for only a short time when
a friend brought someone to my home she wanted me to meet. This was a
woman who perhaps loved Oak Bluffs and the Vineyard as much as life
itself.
Her name was Isabelle Washington Powell, known by all as Belle, an
Island icon, having first come here some seventy years ago. She was one
of the most charismatic people I've ever known. To be in her company was to hear some incredible stories of the fascinating life of celebrity, politics past and present and of her continued great love of a man she later divorced, Congressman Rev. Adam Clayton Powell Jr. pastor of the 15,000-member Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem from 1937 to 1970. I grew up reading about the Powells in the Louisville Defender and other newspapers and history books, but to get to know Belle personally was a lesson in life.
This week, a wonderful new autobiography on the late, inimitable,
Isabelle Washington Powell dancer, actor, social activist, and first
wife of the late Congressman Powell was released. The book is titled
Adam's Belle: A Memoir of Love Without Bounds. The volume consists of 200 pages filled with photographs never before published with the
unmistakable voice of the Belle that I knew leaping off the pages. Ms.
Burnett, the co-author, has listened closely to Belle's words and
written an exciting book which begins in the early stages of Belle's
life in Savannah, Ga.; her time as a dancer at the Cotton Club and on
Broadway during the Harlem Renaissance; and the period where she gives up her life's ambition and first love, the theatre and dance to become the First Lady of Abyssinian Baptist Church. In Ms. Burnett's
words, Only a drama queen like Belle could meet a real-life Prince Charming and give up everything to marry him.
Joyce Burnett spent 10 years working with Belle Powell to complete the
book. I recall meeting Ms. Burnett on Belle's porch several years ago.
She was the perfect fit to co-author the book. It is obvious that Ms. Burnett became fascinated with the life of Belle, who was center stage
during the 1920's, making entertainment history with the notables of the day at a time when African Americans could not enter the Cotton Club as patrons to enjoy her immense talents.
It was Evelyn Horad, friend of Belle Powell and former journalist and
social columnist for the Washington Afro-American Newspaper, who knew
of her interest in writing a memoir and introduced Joyce Burnett as a
potential biographer. Joyce and Belle got along famously and a wonderful book is the result.
Joyce Burnett, an attorney, has an interesting background in her own
right. She was a Peace Corps volunteer in West Africa, earned four
degrees and was a Fulbright Scholar. --Oak Bluffs Town Column

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Book Description Dbm Press, LLC, 2008. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. This is the memoir of the late Isabel Washington Powell -- Cotton Club dancer and movie star in the 1920 s, political activist and Queen of Harlem in the 1930 s and 40 s, and the first wife of Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. It is an exceptional story of the Harlem Renaissance and the early life of Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. as the Pastor of the largest African-American church in the U.S. at the time -- Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, his early civil rights battles, his time as a member of the New York City Council and later running for Congress. Told by the woman who knew Adam best, much of this story has never been published before. Written as a first person narrative, Adam s Belle captures the reader s attention. Seller Inventory # NLF9780981610214

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Book Description DBM Press, LC, Springfield, VA, 2008. Hard Cover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Printing. 200pp/illus. This is the incredible autobiography of the late Isabel Washington Powell from her early years as a young "drama queen" with her big sister, Fredi Washington, in early 1900's Savannah, Georgia; her young adult years as a Cotton Club dancer in Harlem during the 1920's; her marriage to Adam Clayton Powell in the 1930's; her divorce following his election to Congress in 1945; and her life after Adam. It was the love and support of her family and especially her sister, Fredi Washington (star of the 1929 film "Black and Tan Fantasy" and the Academy Award nominated 1934 film "Imitation of Life") that enabled her to survive. ISBN 10: 0-9816102-1-8 New. Seller Inventory # 009354

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Book Description Dbm Press, LLC, United States, 2008. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. This is the memoir of the late Isabel Washington Powell -- Cotton Club dancer and movie star in the 1920's, political activist and "Queen of Harlem" in the 1930's and 40's, and the first wife of Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. It is an exceptional story of the Harlem Renaissance and the early life of Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. as the Pastor of the largest African-American church in the U.S. at the time -- Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, his early civil rights battles, his time as a member of the New York City Council and later running for Congress. Told by the woman who knew Adam best, much of this story has never been published before. Written as a first person narrative, "Adam's Belle" captures the reader's attention. Seller Inventory # NLF9780981610214

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