Another story of Oak Bluffs, the town where dreams come true, is one about Dr. John Wilson Jr., new president of Morehouse College, when he brought college buddy Spike Lee to the Island to visit his grandmother’s house. It was Mr. Lee’s first time on the Vineyard, and the two of them had fond memories of the Atlantic Connection, among other things, that caused them to fall in love with Oak Bluffs.
They shared a dream of Mr. Wilson becoming president of Morehouse and Mr. Lee becoming a leading filmmaker with a home in Oak Bluffs. Upon a visit some years later, they stopped by Oak Bluffs’ L. Duane Jackson’s house, who graduated from Hampton — another of the nation's prized historical Black colleges. Duane, with a dream of becoming an architect, designed the Lee family home. Oak Bluffs’ Dr. Louis Sullivan and the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., an Oak Bluffs visitor, were both Morehouse alumni whose dreams came true. The late Dr. Kenneth Edelin’s nephew, Jeh Johnson, was also a member of John Wilson and Spike Lee’s graduating class of 1979 and is today the Secretary of Homeland Security. Dr. Wilson plans annual visits to share how Morehouse College will continue being an educational institution helping dreams come true.
The next two weeks are the busiest, so see eventsmv.com for events I may miss and/or my word count won’t accommodate.
The book Martha’s Vineyard in World War II will be reviewed by the authors at the senior center at 10 a.m. today and the gingerbread cottage tour in the Camp Grounds is also at 10 a.m. The Martha’s Vineyard Summer Madness music conference starts this evening with a schedule of activities culminating with a Lauryn Hill concert at Featherstone Center for the Arts on Sunday.
Visit the Arts District tomorrow for the Arts Stroll from 4 to 7 p.m., and especially Alison Shaw’s new work, wow!
WCAI-FM radio’s The Moth is at the Tabernacle tomorrow night and our own Charlayne Hunter-Gault is one of the featured storytellers.
Northeastern University alumni host Miss Anne in Harlem tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. at the library, and a reception at Lola’s at 5 p.m. on Sunday. Last year they raised a reported $100,000 for minority scholarships, and, along with Barbara Alleyne, most of the committee are Oak Bluffs homeowners.
Monday at 5 p.m., the Martha’s Vineyard Museum awards the Martha’s Vineyard Medal for contributions in preserving the history, art and culture of the Island. I am honored to be introducing our own Renee Balter, one of the three awardees.
Congressman John Lewis and the Reverend C.T. Vivian speak at Union Chapel on Tuesday.
A film honoring Maya Angelou is slated for Thursday at 10:30 a.m. at the library.
The widely anticipated panel, A Place of Pride and History, is Thursday at 3 p.m. at Union Chapel. Sponsored by Martha’s Vineyard Magazine, this program was largely brought to pass by Jessica Harris’ work with the Smithsonian Institution. The new National Museum of African American History and Culture director Lonnie Bunch, curator Dr. Paul Gardullo and longtime Vineyarder Kevin Strait, credited with acquiring many of the objects for the new exhibit, will describe the selection of Oak Bluffs for inclusion into the museum. A film with Olive Tomlinson about Shearer Cottage of the ‘40s and ‘50s produced by Martha’s Vineyard Museum historian Linsey Lee will be shown. Jessica Harris, Shearer family descendant David Van Allen and I will talk about growing up summers in Oak Bluffs. Tickets are available at ticketsmv.com and/or by calling Nicole at the Gazette at 508-627-4311 weekdays.
Charlayne Hunter-Gault, Henry Louis Skip Gates Jr. and a panel of journalists will be at Edgartown’s Whaling Church at 5 p.m. on Thursday discussing Race-ing Obama, the criticism directed at our 44th president. Sponsored by the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University, tickets are free and available at C’Est La Vie.
Songstress Vivian Male performs at the Martha’s Vineyard Film Center on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
Congratulations to filmmaker Stan Nelson who President Barack Obama presented with a National Humanities Medal on July 28 at the White House. The award honors Stan’s documenting the stories of African Americans through film. Join Stanley and Henry Louis Skip Gates Jr. on August 18 at the Tabernacle for a screening of Freedom Summer presented by the Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival.
The Vineyard Gazette is looking for old film taken here on-Island for its historical archives. If you have any, please contact Tom Dunlop at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The cool new treat is the Charley at Back Door Donuts — a dually redundant confection featuring a donut topped by ice cream, chocolate syrup and whipped cream. Dieters beware.
Welcome back, Mr. President and family — enjoy your stay!
Keep your foot on a rock.
Send your Oak Bluffs news to: Skip@mvgazette.com.