The 13th annual Della Hardman Day, which honors the memory of the Oak Bluffs resident, teacher, activist and longtime Gazette columnist, will take place on Saturday, July 29 at 4 p.m. in Ocean Park. Jim Thomas and the Spiritual Choir will perform Sunday at the East Chop Lighthouse at 5:30 p.m.

In honor of Ms. Hardman’s legacy in the field of social justice, Carol Anderson, author of White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide, will deliver the keynote address.

As a professor of art during the civil rights era, Della Hardman pushed boundaries. Her daughter Andrea Taylor recalled how one year Ms. Hardman took a group of students to Europe so they could see the great masters in situ.

“She took a mixed group of students, an integrated group of students . . . I think this would’ve been back in the late fifties, early sixties, and it was not all that common for an African-American professor to be in a position to take a diverse group on a European trip like that,” Ms. Taylor said. “She was a real activist and everybody having the opportunity to learn, to grow, and to develop to their full potential regardless of race and other criteria, we were focused on that.” Ms. Hardman taught at West Virginia State University, from which she graduated in 1943 when it was a historically black college. The institution was integrated in 1954 following the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education ruling. Ms. Hardman devoted her 30-year-long career there to serving all students. In 1986 she stopped teaching and retired to Martha’s Vineyard—driving to the Island in her packed up Volvo as soon as the caps were thrown at her last commencement. She had been a regular visitor to the Island for many years.

“We have a picture somewhere in a box of my mother making her first visit to the Vineyard in 1925, when she was three years old. And she’s standing on the dock of the Oak Bluffs ferry, which looks pretty much the same in 1925 as it does today,” Ms. Taylor remembered.

She continued: “She just loved the Vineyard. She loved the sea, she loved the ocean, she loved the serenity and the beauty of the Vineyard.”

In her retirement she was an active member of the Island community, writing the Oak Bluffs town column for the Gazette and volunteering with a host of organizations including the Chamber Music Society, the Vineyard Nursing Association and Featherstone Center for the Arts. She also served on the board of the Oak Bluffs Library and the Nathan Mayhew Seminars.

Ms. Hardman died unexpectedly in December 2005.

The following year the town of Oak Bluffs designated the last Saturday in July as Della Hardman Day. The tradition continues every summer.