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



Winners for the annual Heritage Trail project were announced at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School this week. The project involves sophomore history students who go out and trek the African American Heritage Trail of Martha’s Vineyard, and then do a research project which is judged. Projects fall into categories: writing, art, physical projects and electronic projects.

The winners this year are as follows:

The African American Heritage Trail History Project is pleased to introduce their newly restructured board of directors. The board is currently led by co-founder of the project, Dr. Elaine Cawley Weintraub, history department chairman at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, a twice awarded Cuffe fellow íin recognition of her contribution to íoriginal scholarship in the field of minority contributions to the maritime history of New England. íMs.


Joseph Carter with Isabel Powell

Some 250 people gathered Sunday on a glorious late-summer day to honor Ms. Isabel Powell, the matriarch of the Powell family, and the memory of Cong. Adam Clayton Powell Jr. A diverse crowd gathered to pay their respects to Ms. Powell and to take part in the making of history as the Heritage Trail dedicated its 17th site.


Shearer Cottage in Oak Bluffs was the first inn on Martha’s Vineyard, and among the first in the nation, to be owned by and cater to black people. It now has been dedicated to the man for who founded the inn, and is a key stop on the Vineyard’s Heritage Trail.
Named for Charles Shearer, the cottage is the culmination of this man’s journey to prosperity.


In the Waterview Farm area of Oak Bluffs is a boulder as tall as a man. Back in the 1790s, the Rev. John Saunders de­livered his sermons here, from atop “Pulpit Rock.” Mr. Saunders, who was African-American, was one of the first people to preach Methodism on Martha’s Vineyard.
But for anyone who doesn’t know the story, this is just a rock in an Oak Bluffs subdiyision. In fact, many sites, though significant to the Vineyard’s African-American history, sit un­marked.
Today, some Island people want to change that.