According to DNA tests, Jackson partially descends from the Benga people of Gabon.
Samuel L. Jackson was born on December 21, 1948, in Washington, D.C., The United States, to Elizabeth (née Montgomery) and Roy Henry Jackson. His father lived away from the family in Kansas City, Missouri, and later died from alcoholism. Jackson met his father only twice during his life. He was raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee, under his grandmother's strict guidance. His mother, Elizabeth Jackson, joined them when he was 10. An early film enthusiast, Jackson frequently saw films at the local theater and gained exposure to the complicated messages surrounding the black presence on screen. During childhood, he had a stuttering problem. While he eventually learned to "pretend to be other people who didn't stutter" and use the curse word "motherfucker" as an affirmation word, he still has days where he stutters.