Charles Lincoln was to a poor family on June 23, 1924, in Athens, Alabama, United States. He was abandoned by his father. By the time he was four, his mother, Bradonia Lincoln, had married Ernest Blye and moved to Pittsburgh, and his father had moved to Nashville, Tennessee. Lincoln remained in Athens, where he was raised by his maternal grandparents, Mattie Sowell Lincoln and Charles Less Lincoln. He didn’t meet his father until he was 19.