Denise Dennis, a seventh-generation Pennsylvanian, is Founding President and CEO of the Dennis Farm Charitable Land Trust, established in 2001 to preserve the 153-acre Pennsylvania farm where her ancestors, documented, free African Americans who came to Northeast Pennsylvania from Connecticut, in 1793, purchased land and settled. Under her leadership, the Dennis Farm, which includes the family cemetery where ancestors who served in the American Revolution and War of 1812 are buried, has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places, featured in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, and honored by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) and Department of Agriculture.
The author of three books, including Black History for Beginners and A Century of Greatness, a history of Black Philadelphia, Denise is also a journalist whose articles have appeared in numerous publications including the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Unesco Courier, the publication of the United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organization based in Paris, and PHMC’s online publication.
Denise began her career in New York, as an editor for Macmillan Publishing Company and as a freelance writer, interviewing such luminaries as the late Nobel Prize winning author, Toni Morrison, Ed Bradley of CBS News, and Pulitzer Prize winning poet, Gwendolyn Brooks.
After working in publishing, Denise moved to Philadelphia where she worked in Public Relations for the Graduate School of Fine Arts, University of Pennsylvania; then as Associate Director of Public Information, Bryn Mawr College; and for Temple University’s Health Science Center. Back in New York, she was Senior Media Relations Manager, National Urban League.
Fluent in French, Denise moved to Paris around 2000 where she wrote the manuscripts of A Century of Greatness and Becoming His Father’s Son and freelance articles.
On behalf of DFCLT, Denise has been a guest speaker at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the African American Museum in Philadelphia, 232nd Anniversary commemorating the Battle of Wyoming, PA, and the 101st Annual Pennsylvania Farm Show. Denise is an alumna of Swarthmore College.