Everett Lynn Jeter was born on June 20, 1955, in Flint, Michigan, but since the age of 3, he was raised in Little Rock, Arkansas, with three sisters. His mother Etta Mae Williams was an assembly worker. Upon his mother's marriage to Ben Harris, his surname was changed to Harris. By the time he was 13 years old, his mother divorced his stepfather who had abused Harris for years. After his parents divorced in 1970, Harris discovered and was reunited with his biological father, James Jeter. The reunion, however, was short-lived, as Jeter died in an automobile accident a year later.