Born in 1950, Cheryl Long grew up the second of eight siblings in the Louisville neighborhood in Marietta, Georgia. She attended Lemon Street Elementary School, Wright Street School, Lemon Street High School, and Marietta High School, where she graduated as a member of the first integrated senior class in 1968. After earning a degree in Business Administration at Morris Brown College, Long became data controller at Kennestone Hospital, where she worked for more than 42 years. Long lives in Powder Springs, Georgia.