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Community and Activities

Guests at Rock Rest
Guests on the lawn at Rock Rest in Kittery, Maine. Courtesy Milne Special Collections and Archives Department, University of New Hampshire Library, Durham, New Hampshire.
“It was comfortable, it was familiar, and the food was great.” – Valerie Cunningham

 

 

 

 

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. 

 

Community and Activities