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Q: Halle Berry & Martha's Vineyard Village ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   10 Comments )
Subject: Halle Berry & Martha's Vineyard Village
Category: Arts and Entertainment > Movies and Film
Asked by: schmooz-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 10 Mar 2006 20:44 PST
Expires: 09 Apr 2006 21:44 PDT
Question ID: 705975
When we were over at Martha's Vineyard several years ago, near the
ferry - we visited a village of character homes, painted loud,
wonderful colors.  I seem to remember that these homes were the center
of a black or African-American commnity, in years past.  I believe
that Halle Berry made a movie where this village was used either as a
backdrop or as part of the actual story.

Question - What was the name of the community and where can I read
about the history?
What was the name of the movie?  Was it "The Wedding?" and where can I
rent it if it was?
Subject: Re: Halle Berry & Martha's Vineyard Village
Answered By: pinkfreud-ga on 10 Mar 2006 21:37 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Howdy, Carolyn!

Halle Berry was indeed in a TV miniseries called "The Wedding," about
the Martha's Vineyard community of Oak Bluffs. "The Wedding" was based
upon a novel by the same name which was written by longtime Oak Bluffs
resident Dorothy West.

Here's the Internet Movie Database listing for "The Wedding":

Internet Movie Database: The Wedding (1998) (TV)

A bit more about the miniseries:

"The scene is Martha's Vineyard in 1953. And while the elegant summer
homes on this Massachusetts island may look familiar to mainstream TV
audiences, the neighborhood known as 'The Oval' probably won't be. The
exclusive circle of doctors, lawyers and business owners are not
Boston Brahmin or even white nouveau riche. They're professional
blacks from long-established, upper-class families. And they fiercely
guard the gates to their insular country-club community, where
membership, as in other high-society circles, is earned through
'proper' background and breeding.

Inspired by the Vineyard town of Oak Bluffs, a resort community still
frequented by black professionals, The Oval serves as the backdrop for
'The Wedding.' This is a Dorothy West novel that Oprah Winfrey fell in
love with and made into a miniseries to be shown Sunday and Monday at
9 p.m. on ABC. West, 90, the last survivor of black artists in the
1920s and '30s who belonged to the Harlem Renaissance, has lived in
Oak Bluffs since 1943. 'The Wedding,' published in 1995, was her first
novel in 47 years, and the last book Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis edited
at Doubleday."

Winfrey 's 'The Wedding' presents conflicts of class, color

"The Wedding" is not easy to find in a version that can be viewed in
the United States. However, I did find it on eBay:

eBay: The Wedding

eBay: The Wedding

Dorothy West's original novel "The Wedding":

Amazon: The Wedding: A Novel

More on Oak Bluffs:

"Martha's Vineyard is one of the traditional resorts of U.S.'s
African-American upper class. Due to a long history of racial harmony
on the island, many black families started vacationing there a century
ago. The center of black culture on Martha's Vineyard is the town of
Oak Bluffs, where many African American celebrities own houses. Its
main beach has been dubbed 'The Inkwell' by African-American

Wikipedia: Martha's Vineyard's_Vineyard

"Oak Bluffs originally began as the center for tourism on the
Vineyard. While the other towns were more focused on industry, Oak
Bluffs became a Mecca for travelers from around the world as early as
the beginning of the 1800?s. It also became a center of the thriving
19th Century Methodist movement.

In the area known now as the Camp Meeting Association or 'The
Campground', members of the Methodist church would come each summer to
pitch tents and have open air meetings. As these meetings became more
and more popular, returning visitors began replacing the tents with
small wooden buildings generally known now as Gingerbread Cottages.
This name originated from the ornate molding and bright colors that
these summer homes were painted and because of their quaint, almost
storybook look. With the Methodist camp meetings taking place in the
center, the campground expanded in a circular pattern around the
meeting area until hundreds of the small cottages sprang up. Later a
more permanent structure was built, called the Tabernacle. This
covered open sided structure allowed speakers and meeting attendees to
weather the elements and gave rise to a community center which is
still in use today.

The campground Gingerbread cottages are cherished historic landmarks
as well as very expensive real estate. Many are still family owned and
passed on generation to generation."

Wikipedia: Oak Bluffs

"Oak Bluffs is a diverse community and home to much African American
history, as well as dignitaries, politicians, artists, and writers.
Oak Bluffs has a large African American community particularly in the
summer season when many families vacation along the clean sandy shores
of Nantucket Sound. In July and August one of the most popular spots
for this vibrant, diverse community is The Inkwell Beach along Beach
Road at the bottom of Waban Park. A beautiful swimming spot, the
Inkwell has traditionally been a meeting place for African American
families and visitors. There is a dawn swimming group and activities
continue throughout the day until dark."

The African American Heritage Trail of Martha's Vineyard

"From the 1880s, it was 'improper and illegal' in the community 'to
make distinction among our tenants on the ground of color.' In the
1890s, a college-educated African American visited the island and
stayed to open an inn catering to black guests. Soon Oak Bluffs had a
number of such establishments. When the island went into an economic
decline with the demise of the whaling industry, blacks saw an
opportunity to buy summer residences. By the turn of the century, Oak
Bluffs had become an exclusive retreat for well-to-do blacks from
Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington. (In fact, until the
1960s, Oak Bluffs had the only accommodations on the island that
welcomed black guests.) The picturesque town became the summer home of
many of the nation's leading black businessmen, academics,
politicians, dignitaries, writers, and artists."

Mass Moments: Oak Bluff Writer Dorothy West Dies

Some photos of bright pink "gingerbread" houses:

Leo Cloutier: Pink Gingerbread House

Sri Chinmoy Centre galleries: Oak Bluffs Gingerbread House

Trip to Martha's Vineyard 2003: Gingerbread Houses

Lots more photos:

Google Images: oak bluffs gingerbread

A book that sounds interesting:

Finding Martha's Vineyard: African Americans at Home on an Island

My Google search strategy:

Google Web Search: "halle berry" "martha's vineyard"

Google Web Search: "martha's vineyard" "oak bluffs"

I'm delighted to have be able to help you with this. It was a pleasure
to look at photos of so many houses that are painted my favorite
color! Please let me know if there's anything further I can do for

Best wishes,
schmooz-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Perfect answer -just what I wanted!  I am soooo sorry this is late but
somehow my "Answers Google" account decided on its own - to un-link
itself from my regular email account I use daily and link itself to a
GMail account I set up but don't use much.  It is irratating that
Google has decided to overide MY decision as to which email I want
linked to my "Answers" account.  It took me a while to recognize that
I have to log in to my OWN Answers account as "another user."  If you
have a chance to forward this part to your customer service - pleas
remind them that real CUSTOMER SERVICE allows US to choose.  Pink -
you ARE THE BEST!!!!  Sorry that this was sooooo late.

Subject: Re: Halle Berry & Martha's Vineyard Village
From: probonopublico-ga on 10 Mar 2006 23:24 PST
Hello Carolyn

Long time no word!

I am a wee bit disappointed though ...

I had hoped that your question (and Pink's answer) would have been in verse.

What's the matter?

Has the Pierian Spring run dry?

All the Best

Subject: Re: Halle Berry & Martha's Vineyard Village
From: pinkfreud-ga on 11 Mar 2006 10:43 PST

I found Oak Bluffs.
Ain't that enoughs?
My rhymes
Are hard to rehearse,
From bard to verse.

Subject: Re: Halle Berry & Martha's Vineyard Village
From: probonopublico-ga on 13 Mar 2006 09:41 PST
Hi Pink

What a lovely poem. Many thanks!

And I almost missed it ...

I guess I've been doing too much dancing.


Subject: Re: Halle Berry & Martha's Vineyard Village
From: pinkfreud-ga on 14 Mar 2006 12:30 PST

It is my opinion that there is no such thing as "too much dancing"
unless one's feet are worn down to stubs.

~Pink, AKA "Tulsa Twinkletoes"
Subject: Re: Halle Berry & Martha's Vineyard Village
From: probonopublico-ga on 14 Mar 2006 23:37 PST
Thank you, Pink, for your kindly advice.

However, I've been break dancing and my toes don't get a look in.

All of us young folk are doing it these days.

Bryan aka The Brighton Breaker
Subject: Re: Halle Berry & Martha's Vineyard Village
From: pinkfreud-ga on 25 Mar 2006 11:04 PST
Ah, yes, break dancing. I've been reluctant to try that myself, since
my body has experienced quite a bit of breakage already, and I'd hate
to disintegrate completely while on the dance floor.
Subject: Re: Halle Berry & Martha's Vineyard Village
From: probonopublico-ga on 25 Mar 2006 12:25 PST
Hi, Pink ...

I was only joshing!

I've actually got two left feet and absolutely no sense of rhythm,
although I do love watching great dancers.

Now, when I was in Tulsa ...

All the Best

Subject: Re: Halle Berry & Martha's Vineyard Village
From: myoarin-ga on 25 Mar 2006 14:50 PST
If you have two left feet, maybe you can still get on that TV show,
even without an additional right one.

Break dancing is not my thing; the headspins are  - would be -  hard
on the thinning thatch.  But ballroom!  Let me take you in my arms
dear Tulsa Twinkletoes.  In Italy they don't call me a "primo
ballerino" without cause. :)

Cheers, Myo
Subject: Re: Halle Berry & Martha's Vineyard Village
From: schmooz-ga on 09 Apr 2006 07:45 PDT
Pinks answer on Oak Bluff
Always more than enough!  
Hope you?re healthy and buff
You?re  . . . . ?dancing? and stuff?
Twirlin Gurls . . . . can be rough,
Bet you?re taking some guff
From guys who act tough
But are probably just fluff
Their talk just a bluff
A huff and a puff
Hang in there!
Subject: Re: Halle Berry & Martha's Vineyard Village
From: probonopublico-ga on 09 Apr 2006 08:10 PDT
Wow, Carolyn, That was marvellous!

Many thanks!

I agree that Googoo's insistence on requiring your GMail address for
G-EVERYTHING is irritating. It caused me to kick it into touch after I
first tried it but it does have some benefits so I am back as a user.

It matters not when you know what's going on and I recently had
occasion to be grateful to GMail when Outlook Express decided to
protect me against another Microsoft program. See Question ID: 716952.

Great to see you back and in great form.

All the Best


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