African American Heritage Trail dedicates site

The trail gives thanks for the life of Anne P. Jennings

The plague honoring Anne P. Jennings — Courtesy Elaine Weintraub

The African American Heritage Trail of Martha’s Vineyard has 26 sites honoring the diverse achievements of people of color. On Friday, Nov. 24, they will dedicate their 27th site at the home of Anne P. Jennings at 7 Highland Avenue, Highlands, Oak Bluffs, at 2.30 pm. The dedication will be followed by a reception from 3 to 5 pm at the Barn, Bowl and Bistro, 13 Uncas Avenue, Oak Bluffs.

In keeping with the theme of love for the community and for justice, the Heritage Trail will give thanks for the life of Anne P. Jennings, the first African American nurse at Hartford Hospital, and will unveil a bronze plaque at her home.

The trail is joined by the Oak Bluffs community in this celebration. The fifth and sixth grade history classes at the Oak Bluffs School have worked with James Jennings and Elaine Cawley Weintraub to choose people whose lives they consider to be heroic, and explaining their choices. The students may choose to write about the person they wish to honor, create a plaque with details of the story, or create artwork. All of their work will be included in a booklet with a title to be chosen by the students. The booklet will be distributed at the dedication ceremony, and it will be available at the Oak Bluffs library.

The Oak Bluffs library is also collaborating on this project. They have newly acquired nonfiction African American literature on display as part of their ongoing commitment to honoring the diverse community they serve. Patrons of the library are invited to nominate people whom they would choose to honor by writing the name of their choice on a rock. A large portrait of Anne P. Jennings and material on her life and on the work of the Heritage Trail is on display in the library.

The rocks will be placed at the site honoring Anne P. Jennings on the day of the dedication, and candles will be lit in honor of all those whose names have been chosen by their community.

The project, which culminates in the dedication of Anne Jennings’ home as a site on the trail, unites the community in a celebration of the values of the Heritage Trail organization, of support for justice, and love for and pride in the accomplishments of all of our diverse community.

“There is no life that does not contribute to history.”  —Dorothy West

For more information, email or call 508-693-4361.