Born in 1945, Dorothy Christian Johnson grew up in the Louisville neighborhood in Marietta, Georgia. She attended Lemon Street Elementary School through the sixth grade before switching to the private Boggs Academy in Keysville, Georgia. Johnson entered Lemon Street High School in the eleventh grade and earned the “Miss Lemon Street” title in her senior year. She attended Tuskegee Institute and started her family in Atlanta before settling in Marietta.