The African American Heritage Trail of Martha’s Vineyard has reached two important milestones this year. The Trail and its interactive documenting of the rich history of African Americans on Martha’s Vineyard turned 20, and the group just dedicated and added its 30th historic site to the Heritage Trail.
Started by two friends, Carrie Camillo Tankard and Elaine Cawley Weintraub, the duo was frustrated with how little of the history was being taught or talked about in the schools.
Discovering The Trail
Indeed, many locals and visitors alike, are only just beginning to discover the African American Heritage Trail. But discover it, they are. The tours, with interesting stops across Martha’s Vineyard, have become a hot ticket. Each site has its own custom plaque, detailing some of the historical significance.
Some of the names and places are well known, others less so, but all have unique and significant stories. One of the stops is the Villa Rosa property in Oak Bluffs. During the 1960’s, it became known as the summer white house of the civil rights movement. It hosted a who’s who of the times, and is dedicated to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who was a frequent visitor and friend of the owner.
Guides To The Trail
You can follow African American Heritage Trail on your own with a map. But to fully experience the rich history and community context, there’s nothing like the narrative and story telling, that the excellent Heritage Trail guides provide. Our own Guinevere Cramer joined Elaine and Carrie for a few stops along the African American Heritage Trail of Martha’s Vineyard.
You will be fascinated, educated, and enlightened. The African American Heritage Trail belongs on everyone’s Vineyard Bucket List.
Tours are scheduled regularly throughout the summer season but available other times as well. Check the African American Heritage Trail of Martha’s Vineyard website for details. You can also find the African American Heritage Trail on Facebook.
Vineyard Bucket List
The Vineyard Bucket List video series is our growing curated collection of the best and most quintessential experiences on Martha’s Vineyard. Whether it’s your first visit or your 20th, we’ve got a library full of magical discoveries, from the Heritage Trail to exploring the island by tall ship to off-season beach walks, to name just a few. View the entire Vineyard Bucket List library.