Isabel Washington Powell: Her Love Is Life

She reaches out with cool, fragile fingers — a thin, velour hand steadying herself with a gentle hold. It hasn’t been such a good month for her health But the old wicker chair on the Oak Bluffs porch is positioned in the sun to warm her and she gingerly negotiates herself into it. Pausing to catch her breath, she will chat about politics (“Gore is going win”), share opinions (“Oprah, please, do you need me to send you some Kleenex?”), and the perspective of many years. Isabel Washington Powell, decked out in smiles, red lipstick and every hair in place, is ready.

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“As Proud as a Cuffy”: Probably Refers to Cuttyhunk’s Citizen of Revolutionary Days

In the list of Vineyardisms offered by H. Franklin Norton in an article published in the Gazette some months ago, there appeared “as proud as a Cuffy”, doubtless referring to the family founded by Paul Cuffee who was born on the island of Cuttyhunk in 1759. Captain Cuffee was something of a barbarian in his taste in wearing apparel and personal adornment. according to tradition he used to get himself up in such style that he rivalled the barber’s poles, Christmas trees and firework displays.

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Methodism on Martha’s Vineyard

The first introduction of Methodism on this island was subsequent to the Revolutionary war. The Baptists then had a flourishing society, chiefly consisting of residents of Tisbury, but numbering some from other towns on the island. The Congregationalists were here from the earliest settlement, and were often spoken of as “the standing order.”

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Burleigh’s Compositions Heard at Chapel

Two of the anthems sung by the Union Chapel choir last Sunday were new arrangements of Harry T. Burleigh’s “Were You There When They Crucified Him” and “Deep River.”  Mr. Burleigh, one of the country’s eminent composers, was present in the congregation. Mr. Burleigh is, as well, a noted baritone whose voice is heard over the radio from the vespers of St. George’s Episcopal Church, New York, where he is a soloist. He is a regular summer visitor to Oak Bluffs.

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Fond Memories of a Black Childhood: Oak Bluffs Had Band Concerts, Lemonade, Cookies and Whist
Dorothy West

We were always stared at. Whenever we went outside the neighborhood that knew us, we were inspected like specimens under glass. My mother prepared us. As she marched us down our front stairs, she would say what our smiles were on tiptoe to hear, “Come on, children, let’s go out and drive the white folks crazy.”

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Keeping Memories of the Disenfranchised Alive

Peggy King Jorde, an expert on African burial grounds, has dedicated her life to ensuring memories of the disenfranchised are kept alive.

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“Cottagers” Aid Drive for Hospital at Bluffs

The Cottagers Club ended its first active season, well pleased with its donations to the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital auxiliary and the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital as its first charitable ventures.

The Cottagers Club came into tentative being last summer when a group of friends decided to direct some of their combined energies toward some unselfish enterprise beneficial to Island charities. This summer at the first official meeting the enthusiasm was contagious, and thirty-eight members now comprise the active list of the cottagers.

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Weaving a Narrative of Resilience

An exhibit titled And Still We Rise: Race Culture and Visual Conversations, includes more than 40 quilts and is on display at the Mariposa Museum and World Culture Center in Oak Bluffs.

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Vineyard Abolitionists Stand Tall
Skip Finley

Many contributors to black history weren’t black. Take the abolitionists, for example.

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Island Life and Early History of the NAACP: Two Women Share Threads of Reminiscence
W. C. Platt
In the 1920s and ’30s, black families could not buy property in Edgartown. And although Oak Bluffs was a gathering place for black professionals back to the 19th century, their children, home from college, were seldom able to work as clerks in local shops.
When the civil rights movement spread across America in the 1960s, the Vineyard was separate in many ways. The black community here was prosperous and thriving, the regional high school was integrated and race relations were cordial.
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