Jessie Kent, nee Wilson was born at Fryspoint, Mississippi on May 5, 1905 to Millie Wilson, nee Long, a housewife born at Cahoma, Mississippi on January 9,1877 (died May 2,1968), and Manuel Wilson, a farmer born at Pondtop, Mississippi (died 1933). She was married to Thomas Kent, born in Mississippi on November 15, 1895 (deceased), and they had one son. She moved from Mississippi to Champaign in 1955. She has chopped and picked cotton, farmed, plowed, cut wood, worked as a domestic and in day care, and babysat. She was a member of Free Will Baptist Church, where her service has included the Mother's Board and the Senior Choir.