- Jennifer Lynn Headley
artist, was born Clarissa Thompson in Washington, D.C., to working-class parents Ethel Mozell Thompson, a domestic worker, and Clarence Thompson, a mailroom clerk. She and her five siblings grew up in a segregated, low-income African American community in Northern Virginia. As a child Sligh noted how African Americans were portrayed in the local Washington Post as criminals and on welfare and collected family photographs to piece together her own history of a positive black American family experience As a teenager she realized that her family was treated differently because of her race and her father placed additional restrictions and chores upon her that were not required of her teenage brothers Her mother was active in the local National Association for the Advancement of Colored People NAACP and enrolled Sligh in the all white Washington Lee High School in Arlington Virginia because the Negro school did not ...
A version of this article originally appeared in African American National Biography.