Happy Birthday to Me, The USA and Terrance Dean Jr.

Photo courtesy of The Dallas Morning News

I was considering what to write about this July 4th since I’ve written about it before and don’t want to bore readers with the same ol’ same ol’. Then I read about this amazing 10-year-old, Terrance Dean Jr. and discovered his birthday is today, too. 

In addition to sharing my birthday with the good old U.S.A, I share it with some pretty famous people: Neil Simon, Mitch Miller, Eva Marie Saint, Gina Lollobrigida, Malia Obama, and many others. Pretty soon when you do a Google search for “famous July 4th birthdays” the list will include Terrance Dean Jr.

This young man attends the Black Academy of Arts and Letters in Dallas, and is an incredible orator. On a Sunday evening in March he gave an impromptu speech during a rally for Trayvon Martin, the young teen killed in Florida. He captivated the audience of hundreds and spoke with the eloquence of seasoned speakers.

Terrance has been speaking and/or singing in church since he was six and has a gift for both. His grandmother, a music teacher, says sometimes she had no idea where the things come from that come out of his mouth. He is a frequent speaker at many churches and civic organizations, and is a youth choir leader at his church. He also performs in the theatre program at the Black Academy.

Last month, Terrance had the honor of going to New York to speak and then introduce Ruby Dee who was the headliner that night. His mentor, Curtis King, founder and director of the Black Academy, arranged for the boy to go to the Apollo and wrote most of the speech Terrance delivered. Of the boy’s ability to mesmerize an audience, King says, “There’s something going on deep inside. It’s like he’s been here before.”

King lists Terrance among the most exceptional youths he has worked with in 35 years with the academy and firmly believes the young man is “Destined to be a world leader.”

It is always such a thrill to find a story like this that is celebrating such a special young person, so I am thrilled to share it with you.

So Happy Birthday to me – Happy Birthday to the United States – And Happy Birthday to Terrance.

To see some fireworks from the show my kids put on here at Grandma’s Ranch, check out The Blood Red Pencil Blog, where I wrote another piece about the day and what it means to me.

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