New Book Casts Unique Light On Race & Class



Rowman Littlefield Books

Year round on Martha’s Vineyard Island off Cape Cod, Massachusetts, residents and vacationers have played basketball—almost since the game was invented. The Oak Bluffs summer league on the Island was innovative, ethnically diverse, welcomed female players, and fostered thousands of friendships. President Obama, NBA All-Star Kyrie Irving, and Family Matters sitcom star Jaleel White have all played basketball on Martha’s Vineyard, as did future college stars, authors, war heroes, and entrepreneurs. Their stories touch current events from World War I through the Civil Rights Movement—and even include the filming of the blockbuster Jaws.

Martha’s Vineyard Basketball: How a Resort League Defied Notions of Race and Class follows the rich history of basketball on the Island and tells the stories of the players and coaches themselves. During the heyday of Martha’s Vineyard basketball in the 1970s and 80s, the courts provided a place for friendships that looked past social class and race—a unique situation given that nearby cities such as Boston were sites of violent demonstrations against forced racial integration by school busing. Original interviews with those who were there not only reveal the racial dynamics on Martha’s Vineyard, but also relate amusing anecdotes of encounters with celebrities that include Charles Lindbergh, James Cagney, Frank Sinatra, and James Taylor.

Martha’s Vineyard Basketball reveals little-known aspects of the Island, shares the realities and triumphs of residents and vacationers alike, and demonstrates the unifying power of basketball. New Englanders, basketball fans, and those interested in race and class relations will all find this book a noteworthy account of a singular place.

Bijan C. Bayne is a cultural critic based in Washington, D.C. and Martha’s Vineyard. His work has appeared in Salon and SLAM.

Bijan C. Bayne is a cultural critic based in Washington, D.C. and Martha’s Vineyard. His work has appeared in Salon and SLAM.

2 thoughts on “New Book Casts Unique Light On Race & Class

  1. I hope the holdiay season is a joyous one for you. They say that fat is the most difficult thing to find in a survival situation, and I believe that it is joy is the item we struggle to source out in this civilized side of existence. (that just came out that way, not trying to be awesome or anything

    I am curious about your mentoring etc. I have little money, but can afford something if you can help me. I’m like the mule who needs a carrot; I can actually write my little ass off, but am lacksidasical when there is noone around to notice.

    I could say lots of course, I am a writer, after all – but tell me what the scoop is. I have some samples on the right hand side of this page:

    I want to put together a book of little pieces like the ones on this page. I made those ones into 11 x 17 full color prints and sold them at little music and photo shows I do. People do like my writing, and I have such an issue with psychological archetypes draining my belief in myself, that I end up in a puddle every time. Tell me if you can help me!!

    thanks for reading this

    Brielle Chittim

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