On Thursday, October 5th the Dennis Farm Charitable Land Trust held its 5th Annual Symposium at Keystone College where Denise Dennis, the President and CEO and the the seventh generation of the family, told the amazing story of her family. The farm was originally settled in Susquehanna County by the family of Prince Perkins who were free African Americans moving west from Connecticut to the region.
WNEP was on hand to capture the event as well as to shed light on a new project for the Dennis Farm: a documentary film to really tell the family’s story and history in Susquehanna County.
Click here to watch the full video or read through the transcript below:
BROOKLYN TOWNSHIP — A filmmaker and an African-American woman from a long line of farmers met face to face at Keystone College with one goal in mind — to tell the story of the Dennis family, African-American farmers living in Susquehanna County since 1793.
Denise Dennis is the seventh generation member of the Dennis family.
“When my family came, they were the black family but they were able to thrive here and work with their neighbors,” said Denise Dennis.
The Dennis family moved to the farm just outside of Hop Bottom just after the American Revolution.
The farm stretches for more than 100 acres.
Although it hasn’t been used for farming since the 20th century, it’s been recognized as a national historic site.
“In the United States there are none that they know so far that were owned by free African-Americans 200 years ago that are now in the stewardship of the same family,” said Dennis.
Emmy award-winning filmmaker Greg Matkosky says he became interested in making the documentary several months ago. He tells Newswatch 16 this is certainly a story worth being told.
“Every place has its own culture, but when you look back at the immigration history of northeastern Pennsylvania and all of the American history that stemmed from what happened here, this isn’t really surprising it’s just another gem that’s been unturned here,” said Matkosky.
“What better story to put everything on a level playing field than this story of this African American family that for centuries lived in this white part of the country and thrived and survived,” Dennis.