Historically Black colleges and universities, popularly known as HBCU institutions, were mostly established after the Civil War to educate newly-freed African-American citizens. However, Cheyney University, University District of Columbia and Lincoln University were established before the Civil War: 1837, 1851 and 1854, respectively.

There are some very interesting links between HBCU institutions and the Vineyard community that should be shared as we prepare to experience the Sixth Annual HBCU Legacy Week on the Vineyard, founded by Sheryl Wesley, from July 23 through July 29. Sheryl has organized a fabulous array of events that can be seen in more detail at events.eventnoire.com.

On behalf of international auction house Phillips, Clinee Hedspeth has organized a lecture titled The Value of Art: An In-Depth Conversation about the African American Art Market. The program will be held on July 27 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Oak Bluffs Library. Ms. Hedspeth, a reigional representative for Phillips and a former director of cultural affairs, exhibitions and archives at the DuSable Museum in Chicago, will be joined by Scott Nussbaum, the deputy chairman, Americas, for Phillips. See you there!

The oldest HBCU is Cheyney University, which was established as the Institute for Colored Youth, outside of Philadelphia. The late Mary Hill Tucker, married to the late Judge Herbie Tucker, lived on the campus of Cheyney: her father Leslie Pinckney Hill was first its principal and then its first president. He served the institution from 1913 to 1951.

Mr. Hill was a part of a brilliant cohort of Black scholars breaking barriers in the Ivy League in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. While at Harvard he was class orator and earned his Phi Beta Kappa key with the completion of his bachelor of arts degree in 1903 and his master of arts degree in 1904. William Monroe Trotter (class of 1895), W.E.B. DuBois (1895, the first Black to earn a PhD) and Alain Locke (class of 1907) also studied at Harvard during this period.

Mary Hill’s mother was Jane Ethel Clark. When she met Leslie Pinckney Hill, she was the first dean of women at the Tuskegee Institute.

Mary and Herbie were both Vineyard royalty. In recognition of the family’s connection to Cheyney they named their cottage (near School street) Melrose, which is the name of the president’s house where Mary grew up on the Cheyney campus.

HBCU institutions will be celebrated all week by alums, parents and institutional representatives recognizing the transformative impact they have had on the nation.

Bennie Wiley, Larry Morse, Cindy Carter, Harry and Charlena Seymour, and Gretchen Tucker Underwood are Howard Bisons. Debbie and L. Duane Jackson and their son Jeffrey, Calvin L. Butts Jr., Milton Britton Sr. and Jr., and the late Millie Henderson are Hampton University proud.

Carolyn Coverdale, Lynn Edmonds and Barbara Edelin are Fisk proud. The Cottagers’ president Olivia Baxter cheers for Virginia Union. Lou Sullivan, Bob Davidson, George White, Kevin Bowman, Willie Woods and John Wilson are Morehouse proud.

Spelman College‘s Caroline Taylor Ellerson, Ivy Redd, Sara Redd and Rachel Redd — all first cousins — often speak of the education and friendships from their college days. Frank and Sharon Redd entertain a bevy of classmates from Virginia State at their cottage every summer.

Chief Polar Bear Caroline Hunter shares that the Polar Bears will host a free concert featuring the Trumpet Chics, a group of talented high school females from Camden, N.J., on the Ocean Park bandstand on Saturday, July 22 at 4:30 p.m. Appreciation to the Oak Bluffs parks department for all of their courtesies making this event possible.

Paradise on earth is living the Vineyard experience! Enjoy it as time is fleeting. Randall Edward Taylor, rest in peace.