Isaac Washington Sr., son of Oliver and Elizabeth S. Washington, was born in Columbia, S.C., in 1942. He is a graduate of C.A. Johnson High School and Benedict College. As a high school and college student, he participated in numerous civil rights marches, sit-ins and other activities in the Columbia and Orangeburg areas. He was arrested in March 1962 while protesting at the South Carolina State House. After graduating from college, he served in the United States Marine Corps and the Marine Corps Reserves.
Washington worked at WIS Television as an assistant program director and director of sales, traffic and operations. While at WIS, he pioneered the “Awareness Program” to create a link between the African American community and the media. He also established an on-the-job training program at WIS for African American college students.
After leaving WIS, he became co-founder of “Black News,” a weekly newspaper designed to provide a more positive platform for African American coverage. Later, he became President and Publisher of the South Carolina Black Media Group, which earned several local and national awards, including the A. Phillip Randolph Messenger Award for Journalistic Excellence in the field of Civil Rights, the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) Publisher of the Year, and the NNPA Merit Awards in Civil Rights, Advertising, Sports and Outstanding Editorial Content.
Isaac is a member of Zion Baptist Church where he serves as a deacon, Sunday School teacher, usher board president, and member of the male choir. He is also a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, a chartered member of the Montford Point Marines Association and a life member of the NAACP. He received the Order of the Palmetto, the Key to the City, and August 14 has been designated as “Isaac Washington Day” in the City of Columbia. He is portrayed on the Columbia Housing Authority Wall of Fame and served as a commissioner on the South Carolina State Housing Authority Board.
Isaac and his wife, Clannie (Hart), are the parents of one son, Isaac Jr.