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     Deborah Grate Bennett was born on a small farm in Loris, South Carolina during the cold winter days of December, the 16th of 1972 to be exact. Story has it; her mother did not tell anyone about her coming. When her family heard about her birth, she was already in the world. They say her mother gave birth to a 10 pound baby girl, and immediately fell into a “deep sleep” for a few hours. Only thing she remembers is everyone slapping her face frantically and calling her name. As Deborah began to grow up, her parents finally thought it was time for her to join the crowd and start working. In the beginning, it was fun. But once the sun started deteriorating her skin, she had a second thought; therefore, school became an object of her attention. Each day she went to school and sat quietly in the corner, listening to the teachers and trying to follow their every command. Deborah knew this was her only way to break the chains of what felt like slavery. The brother she calls Josh in the novel was her protector. He tried to make sure she stayed on the right track and kept her mind on the books. He always told Deborah that he wanted her to be somebody. “Baby girl,” he’d say, “take that mind of yours and go places with it. Don’t end up like me. Be somebody you would be proud of.” Before she could prove to him that she was going places, he passed away. This was the first time the surface in the family, as she knew it, had been dented. Deborah went on to graduate from high school and got accepted to Coastal Carolina University with no major in mind, just filled with happiness because she was going to college. She was the second one of her parent’s children to go to college, and the fourth one to graduate from high school. However, she was not going to simply any college, she was going to Coastal Carolina University, an institution where sometimes she was one of the three African American students in a class of thirty to thirty-five students. She finally found a place where she was accepted and did not have to lose her identity to fit in. She was welcomed the way she was; a Southern woman with worn out clothes and a car that coughed each time she turned the ignition. After graduation in 1997 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education, she obtained a job through Horry County School District as a teacher and went on to pursue a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction in Literacy: reading and writing. She has three wonderful children, Christopher, Dabria, and Maleeya, and a wonderful husband, Marcus. She is blessed to still have one of her parents; Thomas Grate, Sr. and her mother, Eliza Grate, went to glory on May 9, 2011. She still has four brothers and four sisters. The other four preceded her mother to the grave.

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"Reflection relieves the soul; therefore, think before you speak."

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 Deborah Grate Bennett
April 14, 2011