Another gorgeous quiet morning on Martha’s Vineyard. I went for a short run, which ended when I saw a skunk on the path. Excellent excuse to end a run. After breakfast we headed to the African American Heritage Trail with Elaine Weintraub as our guide (Elaine is the co-founder of the trail and one of our Islands of Tolerance partners, she is a social studies teacher at MVRHS). Our first stop was with Rebecca, whose plaque is nestled on a sweet little wooded path. Rebecca was the second site established on the trail, which includes 26 sites in total. Rebecca owned property where her plaque is located, but there’s no evidence she was ever freed as a slave. There are historical accounts stating she was “whipped like a dog” during her life of cruel servitude. You can read more about her here.
Our next stop on the trail was in Menemsha to talk about Randall Burton, who managed to escaped and hide out in Aquinnah. You can read up on his story here.
We concluded our morning at Aquinnah, which is the land of the Wampanoag tribe. The cliffs here are gorgeous and one of the most popular landmarks of the island, definitely one of my favorite spots. We were blessed with a clear sky with some whispy clouds and warm weather. This spot made me long for Mohegan Bluffs on Block Island, which I will be scaling down to get beachside in less than a month!
The students did another program back at MVRHS after a delicious lunch of Indian cuisine prepared special for them by a MVRHS parent (curry!! Yum). I was able to sneak away for a bit and cherished some time to relax in the warm sunshine. I met up with them at Alex’s Place housed at the YMCA, which is a very cool teen center. Our students enjoyed dancing, pool, table tennis, video games, and some lounging about with the MV students. We come here almost every year and this teen center rocks, I wish I had something like this when I was a kid! Alex’s Place provides teens with a safe and fun place to hang out and just be kids. Of course, my students were excited to dance some bachata on the stage under the disco lights.
We headed to Oak Bluffs and did a small walking tour of the area, hosted by our resident historian, Raj. One spot of note is a particular beach called “Inkwell” that has been a typical meeting spot for African Americans. Oak Bluffs has been a popular spot for African Americans, especially in the summer season. Martin Luther King penned the famous “I have a dream” speech while sitting on the porch of a beachside home near the Oak Bluffs green. We walked along to the Methodist campground and picked out our favorite gingerbread houses. After Raj finished his short lecture on the history of Oak Bluffs, the students were released to roam the streets of Oak Bluffs and enjoy dinner on their own. This meant nachos at Sharky’s for us adults. Not sure how we established this annual tradition, but I’m not complaining. Nachos are life. I also found a super cool “Inkwell” tote for my friend, who is back at home with my dog. Now she will want to come and explore the African American history on the Vineyard and as a good friend, I will accompany her to MV. I know it will be struggle to return here and without students, but I’m that kind of friend.
Today’s ice cream was black raspberry with rainbow sprinkles. One scoop cone.