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African Americans and Class | The People of Oak Bluffs | The Place

African Americans and Class

People Like Us: Social Class in America
This two-hour program “examines American life through the prism of the our country’s unique class structure.” Meet the families and individuals portrayed in the documentary, including those from the segment “Bourgeois Blues”, centered on a cotillion in Charlotte, NC’s African American community.

Our Kind of People: Inside America's Black Upper Class
An African American author and attorney, Lawrence Otis Graham examines the social history of the African American elite, which “he alternately admires and criticizes.” Read a review of this controversial book.

NPR: Black Upper Class
NPR’s Ray Suarez talks to Lawrence Otis Graham and Julia Boyd, author of In the Company of My Sisters: Black Women and Self-Esteem, about the upper-class African American society.

The People of Oak Bluffs

Lani Guinier
Read a biography of this first black woman to become a tenured professor at Harvard Law School, also seen in A PLACE OF OUR OWN.

Isabel Powell
“At over ninety years old Mrs. Powell still lives on her own, wheels her shopping cart to the local grocery store, and makes the best Bloody Marys this side of heaven.” The former wife of civil rights leader Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. and sister of actress Fredi Washington, Powell is one of the oldest—and most vivacious—residents of Oak Bluffs, where she has been vacationing since her honeymoon in 1933. Read an excerpt from her biography, Adam’s Belle, and browse the photo gallery.

Manning Marable
Find out more about the life and work—including re-prints of his past column—of this noted historian and Oak Bluffs resident.

Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Learn more about this famous scholar and chair of Harvard’s Afro-American studies department, also seen in A PLACE OF OUR OWN.

The Place

Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts
The official web site for Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts. Read about the history of the area, the town’s government structure and proposals to establish a historic district.

ZipUsa: 02557 @ National Geographic Magazine
View an excerpt from this National Geographic article on Oak Bluffs, as well as photos of a summer theater performance, the Polar Bears Club’s water workout, a beach potluck and a Teen Night dance.

Just Bluff-ing on Martha’s Vineyard
See this travel guide for a quick rundown of Oak Bluffs activities, beaches, hotels and transportation.

The Martha’s Vineyard Heritage Trail in Oak Bluffs
This interactive guide to the island’s African American Heritage Trail includes pictures of and information on notable sites in Oak Bluffs, including Shearer Cottage, the first inn on the Vineyard that allowed African American guests. Learn more about local historical figures such as Captain William Martin, the island’s first whaling captain.

The African American Heritage Trail of Martha’s Vineyard
Get information on the six heritage trail points located in Oak Bluffs, including the Gospel Tabernacle, Powell Cottage and the former home of author Dorothy West.

Old Photographs of Martha’s Vineyard
Collected by a local historian, this gallery of snapshots includes pictures of Oak Bluffs—previously known as College City—as well as postcard and photo captions.

Vineyard Gazette
For 157 years, the Gazette has been reporting the news and events on Martha’s Vineyard. Check out the Web site for informative guides to entertainment, tourism and outdoor activities on the island.

Martha’s Vineyard Learn more about the famous vacation island: get maps, an events calendar and local business and activities listings.


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