Community and Activities
Like other vacationers, African Americans swam at the beach, visited historic sites, shopped, played games, relaxed, and enjoyed the local food. In the resort community of Oak Bluffs, children roamed free and largely unsupervised. For the most part, black vacationers were able to do what they pleased with minimal restrictions.
For many, the social life at these destinations was a highlight. Visitors like Harriette Evans and Cee-Jay Jones looked forward to reconnecting with friends from up and down the East Coast every summer. At the beach, around the dinner table, or at parties, they shared stories and ideas. Vera Shorter, a vacationer in Oak Bluffs, and Valerie Cunningham, a maid at Rock Rest, both recall that race was a frequent topic of discussion. Vacationers learned about each other’s communities back home, and discussed the issues of the day.