TORRINGTON. — The Torrington Historical Society is celebrating Black History Month by hosting a free virtual presentation on Feb. 23 featuring actor and storyteller Tammy Denease, who will portray Bessie Coleman, the first African-American and Native American woman pilot. This program, which begins at 6 p.m., is sponsored by Torrington Savings Bank.

As Bessie Coleman, Denease takes audiences on a journey into Coleman’s world that begins in the segregated South of the United States, “where cotton was king and Jim Crow ruled underneath white sheets, where the color of one’s skin could determine whether they lived or died,” an announcement said. Their journey ends in Paris, France, where self-determination — not skin color or gender — is what truly matters, the announcement said.

To register for this program, visit the Torrington Historical Society website and click torringtonhistoricalsociety.org/zoom-registration.html.

Denease was born in Columbus, Miss., where she spent countless hours with her great-grandmother and grandmother, the announcement said. Her great-grandmother was a former enslaved person and lived to be 125 and her grandmother lived to be a 100. Both were known storytellers and passed this gift along to their granddaughter. Denease “specializes in bringing to life stories of important yet ‘hidden’ women in history,” the announcement said. For more information about her and her programs, visit her website: hiddenwomen.org.

Connecticut Media Group