Oak Bluffs connections with black elected officials extend at least to 1881 when attorney James W. Pope became the second black person on Boston’s city council. The councilman often visited Shearer Cottage with his wife Mary and son Lincoln. Shearer Cottage is where Lincoln Pope Sr., who served the Massachusetts General Court for many years, met his wife Lily Shearer. Their children included Liz Pope White, Doris Pope (who married Herbert L. Jackson, Malden’s first African-American city councilor) and Lincoln G. Pope Jr. (5/29/1916 to 1/10/1979).

Lincoln Pope Jr. was the first black Democrat elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives. He and his wife Gloria cofounded the Oak Bluffs Tennis Club at Niantic Park, where tournaments were held on Labor Day for over 40 years, which became a highlight for the growing African American summer community. It’s remarkable so many black elected officials would have a place to meet each year. Councilman Jackson, Rep. Adam Clayton Powell, and Rep. Lincoln Pope shared the camaraderie with Sen. Edward Brooke, New York city councilman Philip Reed and the legendary Bolling family, beginning with Narragansett avenue’s state senator from Roxbury, Royal L. Bolling (6/19/1920 to 7/16/2002).

After graduating from Howard University in Washington, Royal Bolling earned the Silver Star, a Purple Heart, four Battle Stars and a Combat Infantry Badge in the 92 Army Infantry Division’s “Buffalo Soldiers.” Following the war he attended Harvard University and opened the successful real estate business he owned for years. He and his wife Thelma produced 12 playmates for our neighborhood — two of whom, Royal Jr. and Bruce, were also politicians. Royal L. Bolling became the youngest African American elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives and Bruce (4/29/1945 to 9/11/2012) became the first president of Boston’s city council. Royal, today owner and founder of Computer Learning Resources, served the legislature from 1973 to 1987. The Bolling family made history when Sen. Royal L. Bolling, state representative Royal L. Bolling Jr. and Boston city councilor Bruce C. Bolling became the first ever father and sons to serve simultaneously in three legislative bodies. As legislators, their combined public service contributed to desegregation, Latino concerns, foreign trade, transportation, banking, energy and commerce, economic development, women, the poor, employment — and in all cases, civil rights.

The patriarch, Royal L. Bolling, began his journey early when, after soliciting and receiving endorsements from Governor Leverett Saltonstall and Boston Mayor James Michael Curley, he was elected the first African American class president of Framingham High School. That might have been why Uncle Royal was always smiling while rocking and smoking his pipe on the porch.

Congratulations to new library director Allyson Malik. At the Oak Bluffs Library on Friday from 3 to 4:30 p.m. ages eight and over can play with the new Wii U. On Saturday, Feb. 20, children of all ages can make suet bird feeders from 10 a.m. to noon. Next Tuesday and Thursday (Feb. 23 and 25) marshmallow sculpting means you can make a 3D creation with marshmallows and toothpicks from 1 to 3 p.m. each day.

Lincoln Pope Jr.’s son Lance recently gifted the Martha’s Vineyard Museum with an album of pictures of his mom and dad. There are several historic pictures of them at business, social, and political gatherings along with photographs of Representative Pope with Cardinal Cushing, Presidents John F. Kennedy and Harry Truman, and others. Contact Linsey Lee at the museum if you too would like to help preserve the black (or any other significant) history of Oak Bluffs and Martha’s Vineyard. If you have historic Vineyard-related photographs the museum would love to take a look. And if you have film, contact Tom Dunlop here at the Gazette (tdunlop@mvgazette.com). It will be safely returned and you may see the footage at a theatre near you this summer.

On April 7, 2015, almost 70 years after his birth, the Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building at 2300 Washington street in Roxbury was named in honor of Boston’s first African American city council president.

How deep in Oak Bluffs history is there an allusion to Lark Hotels’ choice of Summercamp as the new name of the Wesley Hotel? That’s possibly the most breathtakingly obtuse naming since, well, Rama Lama Rama Lama Ding Dong.

Keep your foot on a rock.

Send Oak Bluffs news to sfinley@mvgazette.com.