The oral history exhibit African American and Civil Rights Voices in the Gangway Gallery at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum is continually adding new voices. The exhibit, which opened in March of 2007, features photographic portraits and excerpts from interviews conducted by oral historian Linsey Lee with members of the Vineyard’s African American community and individuals involved in the civil rights movement. Three new voices have been recently added. Currently 14 individuals and their stories are included in the exhibit and more will be added in the coming months.
This selection of excerpts from oral history interviews offers a window into the diversity of the Vineyard African American community and into Vineyarders’ involvement in the struggles for racial equality and justice during the civil rights movement in the 1960s.
Voices featured in the exhibit include artist Lois Mailou Jones, Marcia Buckley, pastor of the Apostolic House of Prayer of Martha’s Vineyard, civil rights activists Nancy Whiting, Polly Murphy and Peg Lilienthal, World War II veteran and landscape gardener Joseph Stiles, welder and summer visitor Barbara Townes, writer Dorothy West, Charley Vanderhoop, telling of his great grandparents’ involvement in the underground railway, Doris Pope Jackson, innkeeper of Shearer Cottages, educator Virginia Durr and artist Leona Flu.
Archival photographs from the museum’s collection and from private collections further illustrate many of the stories in the display. A short film titled, A Person of Color — An Oak Bluffs Childhood, featuring the late Dean K. Denniston Sr., son of the first African American minister on the Vineyard, is available for viewing.
For information call the museum at 508-627-4441.