Born July 4,1931, in Washington, D.C., to teachers Richard Avitus and Martha Gray, Harriette Gillem Robinet became familiar with slavery during her childhood summers in Arlington, Virginia. Her maternal grandfather served as a slave under General Robert E. Lee until age thirteen, while her father's family served as slaves to Jesuit priests in Maryland. This childhood experience paved the way for the author's interest in slavery and historical fiction.
In 1953, Robinet graduated with a bachelor of science degree from the College of New Rochelle in New York. The author then earned her master of science (1957) and doctorate (1963) degrees in microbiology from Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. From 1953-1954, Robinet worked in Children's Hospital, Washington, D.C., as a bacteriologist before serving at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., as a medical bacteriologist and as a research bacteriologist. Later, she worked as a biology instructor at Xavier University, New Orleans, Louisiana, and as a civilian food bacteriologist for the United States Army Quartermaster Corps.
In August 6, 1960, the author married McLouis Joseph Robinet (pronounced robi-nay), a health physicist. The couple raised six children: Stephen, Philip, Rita, Jonathan, Marsha, and Linda, including one son with cerebral palsy.
Influenced by her family's slavery and her disabled son's challenges, Robinet began writing books...
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