Books: The President, Dorothy West & the Vineyard

When I read this short piece in the Huffington Post on the history of blacks at the Vineyard, Dorothy West's book, "The Wedding" immediately sprang to mind.

The Harlem Renaissance always intrigued me, and on one of my work related visits to Harlem Hospital, I took a long, long lunch break and visited the Schomburg Center for Black Studies, part of the New York City public library system.

It was at the Schomburg that I learned of Dorothy West, the youngest member of the movement. And it was here at the library that I bought several books by Renaissance authors including Ms. West's "The Wedding."

The book provides a brilliant entry into life on the Bluffs of middle and upper middle class Blacks in the 1950s, the struggles within families and the different ways in which people adjust to those variations in colour, class and conditioning.

While not considered among the movement's favourites, West deserved more than a passing glance or the small portion of credit she received for her forthright novel, and generous gift of an insider's look at internal race relations during this historical period.

The Globe also offered up this piece, interviewing prominent Vineyard residents, mostly from Oak Bluffs and while five decades have passed, I know from my own experiences on the Vineyard, not much has changed.

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