About father unknown
J. Daniel Pezzoni, a preservation consultant, noted in 1995 there was a local tradition linking Powell's family to Llewellyn Powell, a white planter who had property 10 miles away at Hale's Ford, but there was no evidence for this. Wil Haygood, a 1993 biographer of Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., mistakenly wrote that Sally Dunning was held as a slave by Llewellyn Powell at the time of her son Adam's birth, and asserted Powell was the father. Pezzoni noted Sally was a free woman, as proved by the 1860 census, which documented three generations of the Dunning family as free people of color. Both Sally's mother and grandmother were free; by Virginia's principle of partus sequitur ventrem, all of their children were free. The Encyclopaedia of African American History (2006) also claims that Powell's father was Llewellyn Powell, and that he was of German descent. Note: Both Llewellyn and Powell are names associated primarily with Wales and England rather than Germany.