Postcard from Oak Bluffs

The Obamas' vacation destination is a picture of racial harmony--and it's ready to cash in on their visit. Martha's Vineyard awaits the First Family

Jodi Hilton / The New York Times / Redux

Watching the sun set from the historically black town of Oak Bluffs.

From the Kennedys to the Clintons to the unfortunate shark victims of Jaws, Martha's Vineyard, an island off the Massachusetts coast, has long conjured visions of well-heeled, sunburned Caucasians swarming its beaches and boardwalks in Top-Siders and pastel shorts. Yet when President Barack Obama and his family descend on this dune-swept summer playground the last week of August, they'll also find an island of rich diversity and harmonious race relations.

"Martha's Vineyard is the most integrated community I have ever experienced," says Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. The island's minority population isn't huge (of its 65,000 summer residents,...

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