Ask the Family


This is where you can ask the family your questions about Adam Clayton Powell. Simply send an email to powell@lyre.mit.edu with your question, and your question will be posted here with replies from one or more members of the family.


Q: Was the family consulted at all in the making of Keep The Faith, Baby? Is it historically accurate?

A: Yes, Adam Clayton Powell, III and (Hon.) IV were very involved in the production, and in verifying accuracy of the script, and in fact, IV makes a cameo appearance in the movie.

Q: Is Colin Powell related to any of the Adam Clayton Powells?

A: No, no relation. Colin Powell is from Jamaica. Anthony Powell, ACP Sr.'s father, got his name from a Virginia family, as discussed in Adam by Adam, the autobiography of Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.
However, Adam Clayton Powell, III and Colin Powell's son Michael Powell bear a striking resemblance...

Q: I remember Tia Powell visiting Maude Rutherford in Atlantic City. Where is she now?

A: Tia Powell? We're not aware of any of our relations by that name

Q: What were the years Mr. Powell pastored in Harlem at Abyssinia?

A: Adam Clayton Powell, Sr. retired on Nov. 1, 1937. His first resignation in 1935 was rejected, but his second in 1937 was accepted. So Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. was promoted to Pastor in 1937, and held that position until his passing in 1972.

Q: Are the sons, Adam Clayton Powell II and Adam Clayton Powell Diago close? Did Mr. Powell's thrid wife out live him? Were they married when he passed away?

A: In 1980, Adam Clayton Powell Diago became Adam Clayton Powell, IV, and upon election to office, Hon. Adam Clayton Powell, IV (cf. Dr. Adam Clayton Powell, IV; see the Family Tree). As noted above, he and Adam Clayton Powell, III were co-producers of the Showtime movie Keep the Faith, Baby, and are quite close. All three of Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.'s wives outlived him, though Hazel Scott passed away in 1981.

Q: I recently saw the SHOWTIME movie regarding your grandfather. I become interested in him since my brother's middle name is "Clayton". I went on-line to learn more about him and your grandmother, but I am confused about the lineage.
If you don't mind sharing this information with me, I really would appreciated it.

A: The Family Tree page explains much of this.

Q: How many children did Adam Clayton Powell Jr. have, what were the wives names, and what are the children doing now?
Was Adam Clayton Powell really as outspoken and he is shown in the movie
Keep The Faith Baby?

A: Again, much of this is on the Family Tree page, but here's the short version: Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. and Isabelle Powell adopted one son named Preston (not mentioned in the movie); he and Hazel Scott had one son, ACP, III; he and Yvette Diago had one son, (Hon.) ACP, IV.
And yes, he was every bit as outspoken as is portrayed in the movie, if not more so. For more depth on this, I recommend his autobiography, Adam by Adam, and the more recent biography King of the Cats by Roy Haygood.