The new Vineyard Museum is rapidly gearing up with an eclectic range of exhibits. Showing now until early August is a visual display of some of the words, faces and voices of Island people as part of the oral history project that Linsey Lee has nurtured for over a decade.

This is the third in her series of Vineyard Voices. She has interviewed civil rights pioneer, microbiologist, teacher and artist Dorothy Burnam; Vera Shorter, former director of human resources and equal opportunity for the Internal Revenue Service in New York city, and currently chairman of legal resources for the Martha’s Vineyard NAACP, as well as figures such as Dr. Constance Batty, Olive Tomlinson, Gus Ben David, David Crohan, Pastor Marcia Buckley and more. The oral history collection now consists of more than 1,700 interviews collected over the past 50 years.

There is a marvelous book with photos and brief histories that accompany this exhibit. The cover is graced with the regal photos of sisters Ruth Bonaparte Scarville and Mildred Henderson. The Dowdell Sisters, including older sister Kathryn, are Vineyard royalty. They share many family stories of growing up in Hartford, Ct., their college experiences, their involvement with the Cottagers and Union Chapel here on the Island and more.

Coming next to the museum is a creative exhibit entitled Basketball from Naismith to the Vineyard, curated by the museum’s Anna Barber and Dr. Phil Hart. Did you know that the creator of the round ball game came to the Vineyard in 1891? His legacy here has been passed on to those playing at the courts in Niantic Park, as noted by author Bijan Bayne, but can also be found in the Soul Cup, started by Phil, L. Duane Jackson, Flash Wiley and yours truly, as well as the Vineyard connections of both Knicks fan and courtside regular Spike Lee and Boston Celtics investor owner Jim Cash. The exhibit panels, photos and histories are in production and will be unveiled on August 5 at the museum. You do not want to miss these two inspiring exhibits.

Speaking of powerful voices and history, Gretchen Tucker Underwood is following in the footsteps of her late father, Judge Herbie Tucker, and her amazing mother Mary Tucker. She was pleasantly surprised when she received a phone call from State Rep. Dylan Fernandes, who had nominated her for recognition by the Commission on the Status of Women in the Commonwealth. The nomination was accompanied by a handful of citations — one citation was from Speaker of the House of Representatives Robert DeLeo recognizing her as the 2019 Unsung Heroine Award for “unwavering dedication to the community of Martha’s Vineyard,” and another came from Gov. Charlie Baker, also praising her work here on the Island. If that was not enough she also was recognized with a Certificate of Merit by the Vineyard Branch of the NAACP.

Recently Pumpsie Green, the first black player for the Boston Red Sox, died at age 85. It was Judge Tucker who sued the Red Sox to force their attention on integrating. This resulted in Green making the team, and eventually all of Major League Baseball was fully integrated.

Mary Tucker, herself an active person at Grace Church and other areas of Vineyard life, can take solace in Gretchen’s embrace of the Tucker family trait of service to the community that makes them whole. Congrats to GTU!

The July meeting of the East Chop Association was chock full of good news thanks to indefatigable President Craig Dripps. Funds have been secured for the repair of the bluff and should start in the early fall. Neighbors have complained for years about the car speed on Munroe avenue near Dudley and Massachusetts avenue. Craig has secured four-way stop signs and a yield sign for this part of the neighborhood. Many are still blowing by it, but in time adjustments will be made.

The association remains focused on the cleanup of various parklands that have tons of debris from the high winds of winter storms. Access to Crystal Lake for canoeing, bird watching and walks remains a problem, but Craig is determined to tackle these issues in the coming months. He received a rousing ovation from the 50 or so meeting attendees.

Paradise on earth is the Vineyard experience. Enjoy it as life is fleeting!

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