Oak Bluffs: One person can accomplish a lot

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The blue sky almost matches the ocean in Oak Bluffs. — Joanne Lambert

“People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn’t true. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”  –Rosa Parks 

When Rosa Parks went to elementary school in a rural town outside Montgomery, Ala., she watched the buses take the white students to their school while the black kids walked to theirs. She said, “The bus was among the first ways I realized that there was a black world and white world.” As an adult, Rosa rode segregated buses, always sitting in the back, and often walking, because the buses would often pass by colored folks waiting at the stop. She did this for over 35 years, from the 1920s to 1955, when she made her stand by sitting down. Her arrest sparked a bus boycott that lasted over a year, crippling the Montgomery bus system, until the Supreme Court ruled the city ordinance requiring segregation on public buses to be unconstitutional. 

One person can accomplish a lot when they decide they have had enough!

The Oak Bluffs “Big Dig” is underway. I know it was startling when it began with the removal of trees, but now you can see the wider sidewalk at the top of the street (where it turns to Kennebec), and I think that will make that corner and crosswalk much safer. There is a new citizen project review committee; big thanks to Kathy Laskowski, Tommye Ann Brown, and Christina Izzo for giving their time to this important town project. 

MVRHS monthly luncheon is on Thursday, Feb. 10, and the menu looks FANTASTIC: Veal Oscar (veal with crabmeat, béarnaise, and asparagus), potato-leek soup, and rich chocolate tart (with fresh strawberries and cream puff). Live music starts at 11 am, lunch is served at 11:30. Sign me up! Reservations required: 508-939-9440.

M.V.’s annual Collaborative Black History Month event on Feb. 5 will be a Zoom event featuring a panel discussion celebrating Black health and wellness. Speakers from the M.V. NAACP, M.V. Museum, Oak Bluffs library, Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers, M.V. League of Women Voters, and MV ASALH will participate in a discussion facilitated by Carole Copeland Thomas. You can find the link to register at mvmuseum.org, and also the O.B. library website, oakbluffslibrary.org.

It’s always a good idea to check the M.V. Museum website for ongoing events and exhibits, especially during these winter days. There are several great exhibits going on now: “Learning to Be Modern: Martha’s Vineyard 1921–2021” is the story of a tumultuous century of change on the Island. “Picturing Martha’s Vineyard” chronicles Island photographers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. You can also see a variety of informative and fun online offerings; it’s wonderful that the museum provides a way to see these exhibits on your computer. 

I love the show “Finding Your Roots,” with the Island’s own Henry Louis Gates Jr. The research his team does to uncover people’s ancestors and their journeys is always interesting and amazing. If you like this sort of thing also, here’s a reminder about the fascinating “Genealogy” series offered via Zoom through the library. The next session is on Feb. 9 from 7 to 8 pm. This month covers DNA and genealogical research. Prior attendance is not required; it is open to all. 

This month’s Virtual Vineyard Book Club selection is “The Living Is Easy.” This was Dorothy West’s first novel, published in 1948, and it was written in Oak Bluffs! Ms. West had moved to her family’s home in Oak Bluffs in 1947, and it was there that she wrote her first novel — though she had published many essays and short stories, and was famous as the youngest member of the Harlem Renaissance. She lived in Oak Bluffs and worked primarily as a journalist for the next four decades, publishing her second novel at age 85. Grab this classic American novel and get ready for the book club discussion on Feb. 24, via Zoom, at 7 pm. 

When I was at the library, I noticed that they offer mobile printing. This means that you can email documents to be printed, and pick up curbside. For more info, call 508-693-9433. 

Happy birthday to Missy Smith on Feb. 3! On Feb. 4, we celebrate Jeremy Driesen, Tom Dresser, Matt Rivers, and Rosa Parks. Ian Lisi celebrates on Feb. 5, and on the 6th, salutations to Kelly Pacheco, Lee MacLeod, and Bob Marley. Cheers to Marc Rivers and Lana Schaefer on the 7th, and bon anniversaire to newly married Sabrina Bayne on Feb. 8! 

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