A look at why Martha’s Vineyard is a popular vacation spot for blacks after the Obamas spent $11.75M on a house

Francis Akhalbey December 09, 2019
Barack and Michelle Obama closed a $11.75M deal for vacation house in Martha’s Vineyard -- Left Photo Credit: LandVest | Right Photo Credit: Bloomberg

It seems the Obamas can’t get enough of Martha’s Vineyard and have decided to become permanent residents of the plush and historic Massachusetts island.

According to the Vineyard Gazette, the former president of the United States and his wife purchased an almost 30-acre vacation home in the Edgartown neighborhood on December 4. They had to part with $11.75 million to become the new owners. The 6,892-square-foot property, which overlooks the ocean has seven bedrooms, eight and a half baths, a swimming pool, barn as well as many stone fireplaces.

The pool and dining area of the house — Photo Credit: LandVest

Previously owned by entrepreneur and Boston Celtics owner Wycliffe Grousbeck, the former first couple seemed to have closed the deal on a huge bargain as it was listed for $22.5 million in 2015. The value, however, dropped to $16.25 million in June this year, then to $14.85 million the following month, the Vineyard Gazette further reports.

A very popular vacation spot thanks to its white-sand beaches, the Obamas have been frequent visitors to the island. During his eight-year tenure as president, Barack and his family reportedly vacationed on the island annually with 2012 being the only year they missed out. They also frequented the island when he was Illinois senator.

The Obamas' Martha's Vineyard home.
Photo Credit: LandVest

With the likes of Martin Luther King Jr., Maya Angelou and Harry Belafonte having vacationed on the island, Martha’s Vineyard, till date, is known for attracting a very huge number of black tourists each year.

The reason for this annual vacation exodus dates back to the Jim Crow era where black vacationers, as a result of segregation, were prohibited from visiting popular beaches and hotels.

According to Genelle Levy in a feature on Narratively, the island, particularly the Oak Bluffs neighborhood, was one of the few places black vacationers could visit during segregation. Inkwell Beach, which is one of the popular vacation spots got its name in reference to the skin of the black beachgoers “which was said to glisten like ink in the hot sun.”

The area was also previously a place of abode for freed slaves in the mid-19th century after slavery had been abolished.

The recent purchase by the Obamas wouldn’t likely weigh them down as they are reportedly flying fast into the billion-dollar circle. The couple entered the White House with a $1.3 million net worth in 2008 and have since grown to an estimated $40 million.

A look at why Martha’s Vineyard is a popular vacation spot for blacks after the Obamas spent $11.75M on a house

According to Forbes, Obama made $20 million from his salary alone since he joined the US Senate in 2005 to the end of his presidency. He earned $400,000 a year during his eight years as president, and an annual pension of $207,800 as a former president.

It gets better with Michelle on his side as they made $20.5 million together in salaries and book royalties between 2005 and 2016 as authors, Forbes added. The books include “The Audacity of Hope“, “Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters” and “Dreams From My Father“.

In 2017, the power couple signed book deals worth at least $60 million and a production deal with Netflix worth tens of millions of dollars. They also rake in a significant amount of money from public speaking events with Barack being paid as much as $400,000 per speech. Michelle, on the other hand, earns an estimated $225,000 per corporate and non-profit speaker appearance.

A look at why Martha’s Vineyard is a popular vacation spot for blacks after the Obamas spent $11.75M on a house
Obamas home in Washington DC — Photo: The Western Journal

They have also invested wisely in their children and the future. They invested in real estate by purchasing their original home in Chicago before the presidency (at $1.65 million in 2005) and an 8,200-square-foot mansion in Washington, DC, for $8.1 million which they previously rented.

Last Edited by:Kent Mensah Updated: December 9, 2019


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