African Americans of Martha’s Vineyard have an epic history. From the days when slaves toiled away in the fresh New England air, through abolition and Reconstruction and continuing into recent years, African Americans have fought arduously to preserve a vibrant culture. Discover how the Vineyard became a sanctuary for slaves during the Civil War and how many blacks first came to the island as servants. Read tales of the Shearer Cottage, a popular vacation destination for prominent blacks from Harry T. Burleigh to Scott Joplin, and how Martin Luther King Jr. vacationed here as well. Venture through the Vineyard with local tour guide Thomas Dresser and learn about people such as Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates and President Barack Obama, who return to the Vineyard for respite from a demanding world.