A new site on the African American Heritage Trail of Martha’s Vineyard will be dedicated on July 27 at 3 p.m.
African American Heritage Trail
Louisa Hufstader
The African American Heritage Trail of Martha’s Vineyard dedicated a new site at Memorial Wharf commemorating the still-mysterious escape of a fugitive from slavery 277 years ago.
African American Heritage Trail


The African American Heritage Trail of Martha’s Vineyard began as part of a promise to a little boy, and in 1998 the Shearer Cottage was dedicated as the first site on the Trail. The ambition was to reach a total of eight sites. That there were many stories was obvious, but the depth and range of the experiences that make up the tapestry of the African American experience on Martha’s Vineyard was amazing. From fugitive preachers to nationally known politicians, all the struggles and triumphs of people of color were part of the story of this Island.

Elaine Weintraub says “history” a lot. The word rolls off her tongue briskly in three sharp syllables: hih-store-ee.

“Welcome to the 16th annual tour of the African American Heritage Trail,” she said last Thursday at the start of this year’s sophomore class field trip. “Here’s your chance of learning some real hih-store-ee.”



Longtime friends and followers of the late Dorothy West gathered on Saturday afternoon in the shade on a hot August day to pay tribute to the writer, who was the last surviving member of the Harlem renaissance, and to share memories.

Heritage Trail Dedication

On Saturday, August 16, the African American Heritage Trail, in collaboration with the W.E. Du Bois Institute at Harvard, will dedicate the former home of Dorothy West, Harlem Renaissance writer, as a site on the trail. All are invited.

The dedication is scheduled for 2 p.m., and at 5 p.m. a celebration of life and the creative achievements of the Highlands community will be celebrated at the Shearer Cottage on Rose Avenue in Oak Bluffs. The keynote speaker will be Professor Charles J. Ogletree of Harvard.

On Thursday, Jan. 17 at 9:30 a.m. as part of the Island’s celebration of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., St. Andrews Episcopal church on North Summer street in Edgartown will become the twentieth site on the African American Heritage Trail of Martha’s Vineyard.

The church was the site of the first meetings in 1964 of the Martha’s Vineyard chapter of the NAACP. A bronze plaque will be unveiled honoring those citizens of all ethnic groups and from all walks of life who organized to participate in the building of a colorblind society.