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Adam's Belle: A Memoir of Love Without Bounds Kindle Edition

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Length: 200 pages Word Wise: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews


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
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

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.

Product Details

  • File Size: 3612 KB
  • Print Length: 200 pages
  • Publisher: DBM Press, LC (June 25, 2012)
  • Publication Date: June 25, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,638,279 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Firestarter on December 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book because I am fascinated by Fredi Washington, the older sister of Isabelle and this book is the closest thing I have to a biography about her.

The Good:

This book gives us an up close glimpse into the lives of the Washington sisters and the Harlem Renaissance. If you are interested in this period of time and the Cotton Club this book will be good for you. For those interested in Fredi Washington, this book gives important details about her early years/childhood.

The Bad:

The writing is sloppy, repetitive, and mediocre. The Washington sisters are an interesting subject, but this author was clearly incapable of actually writing their story.

The author kept repeating the same things over and over again in each chapter. Okay we get it...Adam left Isabelle for Hazel Scott, who is to the blame for Isabelle's failed marriage...not Adam (the other party in the marriage). It was too much and annoying at times.

Just my two cents...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Delano Sampson on June 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've just finished reading ADAM'S BELLE by Isabel Washington Powell and i couldn't stop reading it.
The book was so full of life, joy, happiness, sadness and right back to joy again. I Finally got a detailed view into the lives of Fredi and Isabel Washington. They truly paved the way for the rights of not just black people, but human life in general. I am so happy that she shared her memories with us and i will treasure them so i too can enjoy my life to the fullest.

Peace and Love

Delano Sampson
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By AEE on April 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover
From heart warming to heartbreaking. I loved Isabel's story. She lived fearlessly, went for everything she wanted and then some. Fell in love many times but only once did a man (Adam) capture her heart and that love was never released even after death.

I had a wonderful opportunity to speak with the Joyce (along with my book club) after we completed the book. It's obvious by her writing that she had a marvelous experience with this book and I felt like I was in NY dancing as the words jumped off the pages! The pictures and the history were awesome! A must read.
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By beverly richardson on November 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Before reading this book, I was unaware of Adam Clayton Powell's first wife. For observers in later years, we only knew the second one. But this particular biography opens the window to the famous politician's early beginnings and provides a wonderful timeline for that period in history. It confirms that there has been a black middle class even with severe segregation which is an important perspective to provide. "Belle" must have been quite a gal going from a show business background to politics. This is an interesting story.
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