A portrait of the Brickman family
A portrait of the Brickman family, one of the first Jewish families on the Island.

Notable locals on screen

Posted August 10, 2006

The Vineyard's past comes alive with seldom-seen images and tales from Islanders at the Katharine Cornell Theater in Vineyard Haven on Saturday, August 12, at 8 pm. The Martha's Vineyard Film Society and the Martha's Vineyard Museum will present three film vignettes from "Vineyard Voices - American Stories," the work-in-progress documentary film by Linsey Lee, the Museum's Oral History Curator. The three vignettes combine video and audio interviews with archival photographs and moving footage to capture the feeling of days gone by on the Vineyard and to address issues of universal interest through the very personal lens of Vineyard people and events.

The first film features the late Dean K. Denniston, Sr., the 92-year old son of the first African-American minister on the Island. Mr. Denniston speaks with wit and poignancy of his father establishing the Bradley Memorial Church in Oak Bluffs, the joys and sorrows of being a minister's son, and the sting of racial prejudice on Martha's Vineyard.

The Bradlee Memorial Church
The Bradlee Memorial Church, a focal point of one the film vignettes from "Vineyard Voices - American Stories," to be shown this weekend.

The second vignette features Dorothy Brickman, daughter of Judal and Eudice Brickman, the first girl of the Jewish faith born on Martha's Vineyard. With loving detail, she speaks of the early days of the Jewish community in Vineyard Haven, of her family working together to make Brickman's store a success, and of the founding of the Martha's Vineyard Hebrew Center.

The third vignette features the late Craig Kingsbury - the naturalist, farmer, selectman, and much-loved Island personality. He tells the story of the Vineyard during Prohibition days, the pervasiveness of rum running, illegal stills (called "bust heads" by Mr. Kingsbury), and the colorful cast of local bootleggers.

Linsey Lee will be available to answer questions and talk about her many years of collecting oral histories from Vineyarders.

"Vineyard Voices" screening, Saturday, Aug. 12, 8 pm, Katharine Cornell Theatre, Spring St., Vineyard Haven. $8; $6 for members. For more information call 508-627-4441, ext. 113 or 508-696-9369.