Oak Bluffs owes quite a bit to educator and historian Dr. Adelaide M. Cromwell. Her article in the Dukes County Intelligencer of August, 1984 was the first to define our town with the title The History of Oak Bluffs as a Popular Resort for Blacks. Tuckernuck avenue’s Dr. Jessica B. Harris, author of several books who, in her consulting role, was a major contributor to last week’s recognition by the Smithsonian Institution. Director Dr. Lonnie Bunch and his team shared plans for the National Museum of African American History and Culture and its induction of Oak Bluffs in a permanent exhibit entitled The Power of Place. Oak Bluffs is one of 10 towns to be featured and the only resort. In the August 1991 Intelligencer, the late Dr. Jacqueline L. Holland was among the first to date the African American presence on the Island to as early as 1703 (a Negro woman slave). Dr. Holland, whose family is in its seventh or eighth generation in Oak Bluffs, was a lifelong resident. The Hollands have owned property in Oak Bluffs since 1905. The list of nationally known names of black Oak Bluffs homeowners and visitors is long and grows every year as we have become a destination for black political leaders, businesspeople, educators, writers and artists. The significance of Oak Bluffs as a summer resort was punctuated last week when we became one of only a few towns to host a past and present United States president, simultaneously at a party at Farm Neck.
Last Thursday, a rainbow of Oak Bluffs taxpayers, business people and civic leaders united at Union Chapel to hear plans for the newest Washington museum — the National Museum of African American History and Culture — and why Oak Bluffs was chosen for this singular honor. Longtime visitor, U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee introduced us to director Lonnie Bunch. U.S. Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole, Dukes County Commission member Christine Todd, Oak Bluffs Association member Renee Balter, the executive director of Martha’s Vineyard Museum David Nathans, families and visitors all joined with Martha’s Vineyard Magazine for information about this rare national honor for Oak Bluffs — with no members of the board of selectmen present.
On Saturday at Lola’s, publishing impresario Dawn Davis of 37 Ink again hosted the Where Readers Meet Writers Brunch, the much sought-after ticket introducing authors and their work.
Lagoon Heights’ Charles Ogletree was featured on Meet the Press on Sunday, August 17, and later this week on MSNBC discussing the Michael Brown shooting in St. Louis.
Stan Nelson’s movie Freedom Summer at the Tabernacle on Monday was packed and emotion-filled.
The widely anticipated annual Oak Bluffs fireworks this evening is again brought to fruition thanks to executives of Black Entertainment Television (BET) and its Centric cable channel, the lifestyle network for African American women. Thanks, BET, for assisting this beloved town tradition. This year, along with the celebrity-studded private party at Lola’s on Thursday, in keeping with the female theme, BET/Centric sponsored a ladies’ luncheon at the Harbor View in conjunction with Hair Rules, a hair care product line. Its founder, Dickey, appeared with Tracy Mourning (former NBA star Alonzo’s wife) for an inspirational luncheon conversation.
Leaving the YMCA earlier this week, I saw that my assumption about the new cell tower behind the ice rink was incorrect; it is indeed there, but lacking a cell from AT&T. Lucky Verizon customers.
Last year the annual Sullivan Run/Walk raised $66,000 for the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital from 350 participants. Tomorrow, beginning at Washington Park, the kids’ fun run is at 8:45 a.m., followed by walkers at 9 a.m. and runners at 9:30 a.m. Dr. Louis Sullivan, former secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, founded the event 26 years ago. The activity promotes the benefits of daily exercise, a practice followed by Dr. Sullivan himself on the bike path while listening to his favorite jazz tunes.
North Shore A Capella performs at the Martha’s Vineyard Film Center Sunday evening. The new show at the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse, Satchel Paige and the Kansas City Swing, has several Oak Bluffs ties. Marla Blakey is the choreographer, co-author Trey Ellis wrote the movie The Inkwell and director Ricardo Khan worked on several projects with Second avenue playwright (and my co-author) Kathleen McGhee-Anderson. It’s a great show that runs until Sept. 6.
The Vineyard Gazette is looking for video of early days in Oak Bluffs. If you have old video or film (super 8mm, 16mm, VHS), please do not try to view it, contact Tom Dunlop at email@example.com or 508-627-4311 who will have it duplicated and returned to you safely. And, of course, old photos are welcome.
Christine Todd is (like many of us) tired of looking at our empty movie theatre(s) in Oak Bluffs. Stop by the Island Theatre on Circuit avenue today (Friday) to sign a petition in support of reviving the theatre.
Warm congratulations to Roger and Myrna Morris, the famed Island artist, on 50 years of marriage last week!
The Oak Bluffs library hosted the busiest day in its history on Tuesday, August 19, with 900 visitors coming through the library doors. What a great record to break! Congrats.
Keep your foot on a rock.
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