Jeffrey James Burnett

Grant Type

Engaged Research Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Michigan State U.

Grant number

Gr. ERG-29

Approve Date

February 2, 2023

Project Title

Burnett, Jeffrey (Michigan State U.) "Oak Bluffs Historic Highlands Archaeology Project"

The Oak Bluffs Historic Highlands Archaeology (OBHHA) project is a community-based historic landscape study that utilizes archaeological methods, archival data, and oral histories and stories to map the beginnings and growth of a Black vacationing community in the Highlands area of Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts. In the resort community of Oak Bluffs, on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, during the early 20th century, Black home- and business-owners formed the core of an infrastructure and landscape that would support the growth of vacationing communities of color. The people who lived in these historic communities, and the descendants and newcomers who live there today, greatly impacted the history, landscape, culture, and future of Oak Bluffs and Martha’s Vineyard, and are connected to the history of tourism and vacationing in America, the history of Black vacationing, and to the 20th century Black Freedom Struggle. This study proposes to explore a history of placemaking through the experiences of Black vacationers in the Highlands area of Oak Bluffs.