President Obama made a brief appearance Saturday evening at the home of his former law school professor, Dr. Charles J. Ogletree Jr., for what was described by the White House as a social event.
About a hundred people attended the event, according to pool reports, and small crowds waved flags along nearby streets as the President’s motorcade drove to Oak Bluffs.
Mr. Ogletree, a Harvard professor who also served as an adviser to Mr. Obama when he was a candidate for office, has owned his modest Alpine Road home since 1994. He also is founder of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at the university.
Prof. Ogletree hosts an annual summer forum for the Vineyard public, bringing in experts to discuss national issues; on Wednesday his daylong event included Anita Hill, Charles Blow and others to talk about race and media in the 21st century. A film based on Professor Ogletree’s book, The Presumption of Guilt: The Arrest of Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Race, Class and Crime in America, also was shown on the Island.
“Tree,” as Prof. Gates calls him, represented his friend and colleague after Gates was arrested at his home in Cambridge in summer 2009. Also an Oak Buffs seasonal resident, Prof. Gates annually hosts a panel the day after Mr. Ogletree’s; on Thursday, Mr. Gates’s panel was about closing the education gap. In 2004, then-candidate for U.S. Senator Barack Obama participated in the panel at the Old Whaling Church.
Profs. Ogletree and Gates are famous fishermen on the Vineyard, regulars on charter fishing trips with Buddy Vanderhoop.
Michelle Obama, another former student of Mr. Ogletree’s, did not attend Saturday’s event, but senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett did join, according to reports. Ms. Jarrett has been a seasonal visitor to the Island since she was a child and hosted the Obamas here before he held office.
The First Family has no scheduled events for Sunday.