Oak Bluffs: Valentine’s pop-up at the P.A.

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“What we need is not a history of selected races or nations, but the history of the world, devoid of national bias, race hatred, and religious prejudice.”  –Carter G. Woodson, author and historian

Did you ever wonder how Black History Month got started? A little research found that it was Carter G. Woodson, who was a prolific writer, avid historian, speaker, and publisher in the early part of the 20th century in Washington, D.C. He saw his mission as correcting the history that was being written and taught, which marginalized the role of black people, or left them completely out of the story. In 1933, he published “The Mis-Education of the Negro,” a collection of articles and speeches which would become a classic. In 1926, he established Negro History Week in February, to mark the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. In 1976, it was officially lengthened to include the entire month of February. 

This year’s Black History Month stamp was designed by an artist with Vineyard connections. The stamp honors Judge Constance Baker Motley, and is the work of acclaimed artist Charly Palmer. His work is also being featured at the Oak Bluffs library through February. He and his wife were introduced to the Island by gallery owner Valerie Francis, and now have a residence in Vineyard Haven. They have just released an anthology of literature and artwork titled “A Love Letter to Black Families,” which will be celebrated on the Vineyard this summer. 

My deepest sympathy to the family of Cristofer Vought, who passed away much too young. Sympathies also to the Rogers and Coutinho families on the loss of Leigh Rogers in January. 

Featherstone Center for the Arts has opened a new exhibit for February: “Love, Laugh, Leap, Live” opened on Feb. 4, and will be up through March 3. It is a beautiful love-themed show. 

Also on the Featherstone campus, check out the Children’s Art Show, also up until March 3. The little artists at Garden Gate Child Development Center are sharing their work in the Schule Chapel gallery; the show is called “Red: The Color of Love.” It is colorful and engaging — don’t miss it!

There will be a Valentine Pop-Up shop at the P.A. Club on Saturday, Feb. 10. Eat, drink, and shop local vendors from 11 am to 3 pm. You’ll be sure to find some treats for the ones you love. You can also buy a raffle ticket for a 65-inch Samsung Crystal UHD TV. The drawing will be the next day; you could be hooking your new TV up in time for the Super Bowl!

Speaking of the Super Bowl, and love: I’m tired of the complaining about Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce. They are two very talented, hard-working, generous young people, and I think it’s terrific that they have found love, and support each other publicly. In this time of dark news and controversy everywhere, it’s a bright spot! Let’s just applaud their talent and their community service, and be happy for them.

I ran into Rob Oslyn on the weekend; he was out walking with a few four-legged friends. You may know Rob as the maintenance chief at the Oak Bluffs School. He has retired from that job, and being the animal lover that he is, has started a new career in pet care. 

Arff BNB offers all kinds of pet services, from dogwalking and overnight boarding to cat care and, and yes, chicken care. As you can imagine, he’s in demand, and busy at this new venture. You can find more info at arffbnb@gmail.com.

The Edgartown School is holding its Eighth Grade Fundraiser Auction on Friday, Feb. 9, at the P.A. Club, from 6 to 8 pm. This is always a really fun event, with amazing auction items. The proceeds will benefit the class trip to NYC and Philadelphia.

Two of my favorite Polar Bears share Feb. 8 birthdays: Sabrina Bayne, and our fearless aerobics leader Brenda Davenport. And give Angelina (“Ani”) Topalieva some birthday hugs on the 8th also! Happy birthday to George Valentzas on Feb. 10. He shares the day with Lisa Belcastro. Bunches of balloons are going to Judy Pachico on the 11th. Judy shares the day with Juanita Espino and Kristen Tidmarsh Araujo. What do Brad Tucker and Abraham Lincoln have in common? Honest men with a birthday on the 12th! Sandy Pratt celebrates on the 12th as well. Sending birthday love to Albert Fischer on the 13th. Celebrating Valentine’s Day birthdays are two people with very big hearts: Ray Whitaker and Caroline Derrig. Feb. 14 is also the day that Frederick Douglass chose to celebrate his birthday; his mother called him her “Little Valentine.”

Stay warm, and send me your news!