The Founders of Bison on the Vineyard

For over 30 years, Howard University Law Alumni Association (HULAA) Past President Donald Thigpen and other members of HULAA and their family and friends travelled to Martha's Vineyard on an annual basis to fellowship and network during the latter part of August. 

 

Bison on the Vineyard was conceived by attorneys Margo Bouchet, Donald Thigpen and Lydia Padilla, along with

Fr. Darryl James and Sarah Davidson, to garner the camaraderie and Bison love of HU Alums who annually vacation in late August on Martha's Vineyard. 

Bison on the Vineyard builds on the long history of African Americans, including Howard alumni, summering in the Oak Bluffs Section of the Vineyard. In early 2010, Margo Bouchet a member of both HULAA and the Howard University Alumni Association (HUAA) suggested that the HUAA collaborate with HULAA to jointly plan and sponsor the annual BOV festivities.

 

A group of dedicated Howard University Alumni presents Bison on the Vineyard 2018,

Friday, August 16, 2019 to Thursday, August 22, 2019.  Every year we improve the line up of events and activities!

 

This annual showcase of Bison love will:

  1. Raise funds for scholarships and donations to Howard University School of Law.

  2. Provide alumni with continuing education seminars to further career development.

  3. Enhance bonding with each other across generations of persons with love for Howard University.
     

We cannot wait to see you at Bison on the Vineyard!

 

Chair,

Margo Bouchet

Bison on the Vineyard 2019

 
The History of "Bison on the Vineyard"
Special Guest Margot Bouchet, Esq. on Tank Talk 

Oak Bluffs--Martha's Vineyard

Originally Published in Aljezeera America here

 

The alternative Martha's Vineyard that you won't read about in the press: With the media abuzz about yet another presidential vacation, meet the other people who will be on the island 

 

August 8, 2014 5:00AM ET

by Jessica Harris   @africooks

 

The island has been long been home to African-Americans with documented history going back to the mid-18th century. While the Abolitionist presence was not as vibrant as it was on Nantucket (Frederick Douglass spoke there and they have an African Meeting House), there were strong roots. Most importantly, on the Vineyard, there is a continuing history. In the early 20th century, the island became home to an African-American summer enclave: Oak Bluffs. The Bluffs, as it is affectionately known, has been a summer residence for notables such as politicians Adam Clayton Powell Jr. and Senator Edward Brooke, composer Harry T. Burleigh, and writer Dorothy West. Martin Luther King Jr. was an occasional visitor and penned some of his speeches sitting on an Oak Bluffs porch. 

 

Today, Charlayne Hunter-Gault, Henry Louis Gates, and Spike Lee are numbered among those who spend time in the town known for its carpenter gothic “gingerbread” cottages and shady oak trees. Skip Finley, who follows in the footsteps of West as the Oak Bluffs columnist for The Vineyard Gazette, one of the two local papers, summed it up.

 

“What I love is the sense of freedom,’’ he said. “There’s racism everywhere, but here, they don’t look at you crossways.’’

 

But there are other forms of freedom as well, he added.

“I like looking up and seeing the stars at night and feeling a cool ocean breeze,’’ he said. “I like not having a key to my house and knowing that the car keys are always in the car.“

 

Finley, who morphed from a “washashore,” as summer residents are called, into a year-rounder, has spent 59 summers in Oak Bluffs. “It’s simply a place where you don’t have to catch your breath,” he said.

 

Oak Bluffs has such deep cultural connections for African Americans that it has earned a spot among the ten locales selected for the Power of Place exhibit that will be a permanent installation at the new Smithsonian Museum of African-American History and Culture that is being built on the Mall in Washington, DC. The African-American presence on the island is also celebrated on the island in its African American Trail – some 24 markers in Oak Bluffs and around the island celebrating various special spots of African-American history. Many of the ones in Oak Bluffs can be visited in a self-guided walking tour.