Early life[ edit ] Coleman was born on January 26, , in Atlanta, Texas , the tenth of thirteen children to sharecroppers George Coleman, who was mostly Cherokee and part African-American, and Susan Coleman, who was mostly African-American. She had to walk four miles each day to her segregated, one-room school, where she loved to read and established herself as an outstanding math student. She completed all eight grades in that school. Every year, Coleman's routine of school, chores, and church was interrupted by the cotton harvest. In , George Coleman left his family.