On Dec. 7 scores crowded the meeting room at the Oak Bluffs Library to pay tribute to Robert C. Hayden, an educator, researcher, tour guide, storyteller, activist, author and more. But in my mind Bob, more than anything else, was and understood the transformative significance of being an historian.

The commemorative program was organized by the Martha’s Vineyard African American History Trail and hosted by founder Elaine Cawley Weintraub with board member Joe Carter acting as master of ceremonies. Joe set the tone by sharing a bit of Bob’s biography before introducing Allyson Malik, the director of the Oak Bluffs Library. Many have marveled at the breath and depth of books in the library shelves devoted to African American history. Allyson explained how, over the years, Bob worked with her and Nina Ferry on developing a bibliography of books on Black history that would be available to readers young and old.

Bob had a unique appreciation and affection for the history of Martha’s Vineyard, which is displayed in his irreplaceable book African Americans on Martha’s Vineyard: A History of People, Places and Events. For the very first time, this book codified in one publication many known and unknown facts that combine to tell the story of why the Vineyard is one of the most inclusive places to live and play in the world.

Bob served on the Oak Bluffs historical commission and also served as the national secretary of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. He was the founding president of the Vineyard branch of that organization. At one time, our local branch was the largest in the country.

A representative from the Massachusetts Association of Science Teachers spoke. I, too, shared some remarks. Bob’s son Kevin Hayden spoke for the family.

After the program Joe invited all to adjourn to the library grounds for the unveiling of the historic marker — appropriately placed at the library — to institutionalize Bob’s contributions to both the Island and the library. This was the 37th historic market for the African American History Trail.

The Evans clan has been on Nantucket avenue facing Waban Park for generations. Sisters Barbara, Leslie and Harriett summered there during the Age of Brooke and now their children and grandchildren grace Circuit avenue and the Inkwell Beach, following in their childhood footsteps. Leslie married John Christian and John held court on the family cottage porch for years, offering strong libations and broad-ranging conversations.

John recently passed and many came out to his memorial service at Charles Street AME church in Roxbury to support the family. The music and preaching were superb and the testimony from Chris and Andrea was heartwarming and gave life to a father‘s role in raising two wonderful and accomplished children. Vineyard residents in attendance included Cliff and Marion Grayer, Leon and Brenda Braithwaite, Jim Brannon, Louise Johnson, Danilo and Earlene Avalon, Kevin and Jennifer DaSilva, Leon and Sherry Wilson, Kevin and Lynn Bowman, Gus and Millie Anglin and Keith and Angela Motley, among others.

Harvard Law School paid tribute to legal and academic icon Charles Ogletree on Nov. 18 in Cambridge. Dean of Harvard Law School John Manning paid tribute to Tree’s academic career and his founding of Saturday School to help students who need support and confidence while at the law school. Classmate Ken Frazier and Vineyard resident David Wilkins were among the speakers.

Charles’s gifts, grit and courage were on display nationally when he represented Anita Hill in her testimony at the Senate confirmation hearing of Clarence Thomas, who was then seeking to join the U.S. Supreme Court. Anita Hill joined many attending the service. Given his history of fighting for those in need, helping to balance the scales of justice and his drive to give broader definition and meaning to cases like Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, it was fitting that the program was framed with the Bible verse, Amos 5:24, “ But let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.“

In a fitting tribute and living memorial to our Vineyard friend the Union Chapel Educational and Cultural Institute hosts the Charles Ogletree Public Forums every summer.

Harry Seymour thanked over 150 friends and family that wrote a special tribute to his wife Charlena inside of a birthday celebration book presented to her on her 80th birthday. We wish Charlena continued good health and many more years with Harry.

The Oak Bluffs welcome committee is preparing to send a welcome package to Conan Harris and his wife Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley on the recent purchase of their cottage. Both have been visiting the Vineyard for years as Ayanna participates in the Ogletree Public Forums.

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

— Richard Lewis Taylor