African American Collection

Donations from Robert C. Hayden in 2016 inspired the collation of books celebrating African American arts, political activities, historical movements, and significant figures. Hayden was a senior Lecturer at U MASS Boston, Northeastern University, Boston College, and Lesley University, spanning from 1978 to 2006 and is President Emeritus of the local branch of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), established in 2002.

The town of Oak Bluffs has a rich history as a time-honored black summer community, supporting African American arts & culture. Continuing to pique the interest of  both historians and members of the general public, some materials within this collection describe local historic sites and tours, which juxtapose the contributions of and the injustices suffered by African Americans on the island dating back to the 1700s. The bulk of the collection allows for cultural connections between the island and Black America.

The collection does not contain fiction or autobiographical titles nor is it exhaustive of the library’s existing holdings related to this special collection.

The brochures below were created in 2018 to assist patrons with browsing the collection. A series of subject pamphlets collectively list and briefly describe more than 140 items in this evolving collection.