News

DelVal to host event on the Dennis Farm

Denise Dennis, president and CEO of The Dennis Farm Charitable Land Trust.

Apr 04, 2017

Update: This event has been canceled. The speaker will not be able to make it to campus due to unforeseen circumstances. 

The Dennis Farm was settled by free African Americans in 1793 and remains in the hands of the descendants of the original family today. Denise Dennis, president and CEO of The Dennis Farm Charitable Land Trust, will speak about the history of the Dennis Farm at Delaware Valley University on Tuesday, April 11 at 7 p.m. in the Life Sciences Building auditorium. All are welcome and there is no charge to attend. 

"The Dennis Farm is an important part of African American history," said Dr. Craig Stutman, a Delaware Valley assistant professor of history and policy studies. "It's an example of early land ownership by free African Americans and it helps tell the story of generations of people who fought for freedom and equality. I would encourage anyone interested in agriculture or, African American history to join us at DelVal to hear this important story." 

“The lecture provided by Ms. Dennis will be of interest for students enrolled in the University’s new history, policy, and society major, as well as students in programs within the School of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences,” said Dr. Chris Tipping, interim dean of the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences.  “Our rich tradition in agricultural science combined with elements of the social sciences highlights our commitment to interdisciplinary collaboration here at DelVal.  It is a natural fit and is a benefit to our students.”

The Dennis Farm was originally settled by the family of Prince Perkins, free African Americans who moved to Pennsylvania from Connecticut, with the original wave of settlement into the region following the American Revolution. Descendants of the Perkins’ granddaughter, Angeline Perkins Dennis, and her husband, Henry Dennis, have retained ownership of the 153-acre property into to the twenty-first century, although it hasn’t been a working farm since the early twentieth century. The history of the Perkins Dennis family and the Farm are fully documented. This continuous, documented ownership of property by African Americans represents a little-known and remarkable story in American history. The purpose of The Dennis Farm Charitable Land Trust is to develop the Dennis Farm into an educational and cultural site for scholars, researchers, educators, cultural heritage tourists, school groups and others interested in this extraordinary history.

The Trust was recently honored by Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding for preserving and sharing the story of the Dennis Farm with the public. 

The event is being hosted by the Liberal Arts Multicultural Forum and the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences.

To learn more about the Dennis Farm, please visit: thedennisfarm.org/.