This week the sophomore class had the opportunity to walk the entire African American Heritage Trail, which is also a nonprofit organization. The trail provided students with much more knowledge about African American history here on the Vineyard. In our history II course we are taught a lot about African American history nationwide, but are not necessarily taught about it here at home. Students felt that the trail was inspirational; you will read some of their comments below. I noticed that almost every participant seemed to enjoy themselves, and not only because we were excused from school for the day! Christy Moreis prepared an authentic African American meal for nearly 150 students which was greatly appreciated. Also, we took a stand to help others by holding a bake sale in order to ship unused textbooks to a school in Alabama. We managed to raise enough money to ship the textbooks. We not only had a successful bake sale but also have been very lucky to be provided with donations to the school in Alabama. Overall, the past two weeks have been filled with excitement and success for the class. Thank you, and enjoy the holiday season.
— Jessie Chandler, Editor
Let Us Help
By Courtney Mussel> L
We were trying to raise money so we could ship textbooks to a school in Alabama, and decided to sell cookies that we had made. Our class split into three groups and everybody helped out. When lunch period came, we had a table set up outside the cafeteria; student volunteers sold the cookies to faculty and students. We estimated that we would make about $60. By the end of the bake sale, people started making donations, and all the cookies were sold. We made a total of $130. Now our class is interested in finding more ways to help other children around the world.
By Shelby Ferry>
Last week our U.S history class helped raise money to send text books to a school in Alabama. We sold cookies we had made to our fellow classmates and teachers, and we raised enough money to send the books to Alabama. I enjoyed making the cookies and the fact that others would benefit from it. I think it was a good idea sending these books to other schools instead of having them be thrown in the trash.
All Around the Island
By Livia Sampaio>
Up, down, over, in, out — it was tiring but fun. It was a beautiful day. The sun was bright and the temperature was awesome. We went in a large group; there were about 40 kids. We went to many places, from Aquinnah to Chilmark to Oak Bluffs to Chappy. We walked a lot!
After all that walking we finally went to eat. We ate at the Portuguese American Club. The food was great. In the end everything was worth it. We learned a lot about the story of the Island. I also went to places that I had never been before. It was a great trip.
By Denver Maciel>
I went with my classmates on the 13th annual Heritage Trail tour. It starts in Aquinnah and stretches all the way out to Chappy. The person that I learned about was Rebecca Martin. She was imprisoned at the age of 11, and she was in and out of jail all her life, 11 times altogether. I also learned about her son, William Martin. He was the first African American whaling captain on Martha’s Vineyard, and now we all know about him.
By Tyler Araujo>
I choose to write about Sen. Edward Brooke. He was the first African American to be elected to the Senate after Reconstruction. I wanted to find out how hard the challenges were that Brooke faced. I wanted to know what it was like to be looked at and talked about by everyone. He served in World War II as a captain and later moved on to run for the Massachusetts House of Representatives but did not succeed in winning the race. He then proceeded to run for office two more times, but fell short. Finally on Jan. 3, 1967, he won the race for U.S. Senator and was from then on known as the first African American Senator in 100 years.
Symbols of the Past
By Kyle Francis>
There were many things on the Heritage Trail that interested me, such as the graveyard where William Martin is buried. This interested me because when he was buried he faced away from all the white people that are buried there, maybe because he was African American. But now someone who may have thought this was a racist thing decided to turn his gravestone the other way so it is facing the ocean and the whites. The person who did this is still unknown. They really didn’t know that when they turned the grave around they were ruining a very important piece of history.
By Andrew Randall>
On Tuesday the whole sophomore class went on the Heritage Trail. We traveled around the Island, from Aquinnah to Oak Bluffs to Chappaquiddick. My favorite part was visiting the William Martin house out on Chappaquiddick. It was very interesting to see how the house had aged over the years. We had an amazing lunch at the P.A. Club in Oak Bluffs. The trail was a lot of fun and we all learned a lot.
A Story of Rescue
By Madison Hughes>
I never really knew that there was slavery on the Vineyard until the other day when my class went on the African American Heritage Trail. I learned that enslaved people tried to run away to the Island like, for example, Randall Burton, a slave who hid with the tribe in the Vanderhoop’s house. Randall had run all the way from South Carolina. Police searched for Randall because they wanted to return him to his so-called owner. The sheriff offered the tribe $10 to tell him where Randall was and $10 was worth a lot during this time period. The tribe rejected the money to protect Randall. I found the story very interesting and thought this would be a perfect topic for my Heritage Trail project.
History Slowly Destroyed
By Rafael Maciel
We went on the Heritage Trail last week. I enjoyed seeing almost all the sites on the trail. Although we did not spend too much time at each site, I was still able to learn a lot. I was surprised to see how many sites there were. My favorite was the William Martin house. It was sad to see that the house was in such bad shape. I find it amazing that the residents of the Vineyard can let a house that means so much to the history of the Island just sit there and slowly be destroyed.