Dorothy West
On Aug. 26, 1869, the Oak Bluffs Land and Wharf Company, an energetic corporation which had bought up acres of the lovely woods and meadows and shore front stretches of what is now Oak Bluffs, sold one of those lots, 69 Pequot avenue, to Lydia B. Smith of New Bedford.
The Cottagers
Dorothy West
Oak Bluffs town hall
Historic buildings


At Christmas there is giving, and in the happiest instances, giving with joy is part of it. This act of love is not a natural instinct.


My undaunted mother took me to see the moving picture version of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. In my safe world I knew nothing of slavery, not even the word.


A Christmas story by the late Dorothy West, an Oak Bluffs writer and last surviving member of the Harlem Renaissance.


Cherene Sherrard-Johnson’s biography of Oak Bluffs writer Dorothy West might never have been launched but for a startling revelation that upended the researcher’s corner of the literary world.

Ms. Sherrard-Johnson, an English professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, described to an Island audience Thursday how Dorothy West’s Paradise: A Biography of Class and Color emerged from the ashes of her work on a 19th century female writer who was considered part of the black literary canon.


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Editors’ note: The following essay written by longtime Oak Bluffs columnist Dorothy West first appeared in the Vineyard Gazette on August 9, 1985.




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.