Why Preservation?

Denise Dennis, Founder

Americans and travelers coming to the United States from nations throughout the world can visit Washington’s Mount Vernon, Jefferson’s Monticello, the historic homes in Charleston, South Carolina and the plantations along the Mississippi River, and listen to guides talk about the talented African American slaves who built the homes, exquisite furnishings and woodworking, and kept those estates running.  We can visit properties in Louisiana given to the slave concubines of plantation owners and passed down to their descendants.  We can visit the White House and learn that black people worked as servants to the first families who lived there.  We can also visit historic homes in the cities of Boston and Philadelphia and learn about their relationship to our nation’s history.  Or we can visit Mother Bethel AME Church on the corner of Sixth and Lombard Streets in Philadelphia, the oldest parcel of land continuously owned by African Americans.   Occasionally, as in the case of Fraunces Tavern in New York, we learn about properties that belonged to African Americans when the nation was new, but there are very few places like the Dennis Farm where we can walk for acres and acres and know that when the nation was young, free African Americans owned and worked this land—by and for themselves--and that even today it is in the stewardship of the same family.  “The Farm,” as we call it, represents a little-known chapter in the story of the United States; and with our partners, we are working to ensure that the property with its rich history and natural environment is preserved for future generations.   

 

 

 

 

 

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