Thank you all! Over 400 runners took part in Sunday’s benefit run for Big Brothers & Big Sisters. What a wonderful weekend. The weather was beautiful, the town was all spruced up with flags and bunting, and you had no excuse not to enjoy the holiday.

This week my topics are mostly books and the arts. We are so fortunate to have these opportunities on our island. I hope you all take advantage of the art gallery receptions on Saturday evenings.

Tom Dresser has a new book on a topic that was waiting to be covered: “African Americans on Martha’s Vineyard, from Enslavement to Presidential Visit.” It is now available at the world’s greatest bookstore, the Bunch of Grapes. Tom used the archives at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum for research and photographs to bring his story to life. He mentioned that it was fascinating to learn of the anti-slavery movement here in the 1830s. Buy the book and find out more about our history. Tom will sign books at the Oak Bluffs library tomorrow at 11 am and at the Tisbury senior center on Tuesday at 1:45 pm.

A delightful piece of our past called “When You Went Away” will be shown on Monday evening at the Cornell Theatre at 8 pm. The film covers the story of the home front during World War II. You will delight in such stars as Claudette Colbert, Jennifer Jones, Shirley Temple, and Joseph Cotton. The event is sponsored by the M.V. Museum and the M.V. Film Society. Historian Sheldon Hackney will introduce the film.

Tomorrow at 4 pm and Saturday at 11 am, you can talk with Wilfrid Dantis, an artist from Haiti. He will be at the library showing his paintings of his homeland. The Burton-Sundman family met Wilfrid on a trip to Hispaniola in 2003. After the earthquake, several Island families helped Wilfrid and his family. Wilfrid is here this summer to thank his friends and to earn money to support his family in Port-Au-Prince.

Tuesday morning the very little children will sing and play with Kathy Forrester at the library. On Wednesday children of all ages are welcome for music and singing with the Allards at 11 am. Thursday evening from 6 to 9 teens can enjoy a movie and popcorn. (Hint: they will visit a fantasy blue landscape.)

On Wednesday at 7 pm, also at the library, meet Bruce Gagnon, coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on this subject and the state of America’s declining empire in his new book.

A week from Sunday you are in for a special treat. Stephen Carter will speak on “Why Democracy Needs Books” at 2 pm at the library. He is a professor of law at Yale University. In addition to his popular novels, Professor Carter is the author of seven nonfiction books, including one that is still my favorite: “Civility: Manners, Morals, and the Etiquette of Democracy.” He is currently at work on a book about why democracy needs books. The event is free. You should plan to carpool and arrive early because of the limited parking near the library.

Toni Cohen will teach the free Pilates class at the Mansion House this Sunday at 5:30 pm.

Governor Patrick’s chief of staff will address an open meeting of the M.V Democratic Council on Saturday, July 10, at 9 am.

Next Tuesday at 7:30 pm, former professor of political science Michael Kobran will expand on lessons learned from Hitler and the rise of national socialism. This program at the Unitarian Universalist Society continues a series on the political leaders of WW II.

Happy anniversary tomorrow to Steve and Judy Nichols.

Big bunches of birthday balloon wishes go out today to the Town of Tisbury! Also celebrating is Jynell Kristal of the Crocker House Inn, who also designs the lovely bags found at the Bunch of Grapes.

Wish the best on Saturday to Betty Jette and Laura Christina Jahn. Monday belongs to Betsey Mayhew and Nevenka Daniels. Happy birthday on Wednesday to Cord Bailey and Michele Jones

Heard on Main Street: The Street Fair is tonight. See you there.