Lester Frank Sumrall was born to Betty and George Sumrall of New Orleans on February 15, 1913.

"My mother had decided, even before I was born, that I was going to be a preacher. She had prayed for me fervently while I was in her womb -- back when I couldn't do anything about it, except kick a little! I was born at home, child number six and completely unplanned."

"My mother was a gentle, kind, and godly woman. I loved her and wanted to please her, but I didn't want to be like her because that meant I had to be good. On the other hand, if I followed in my father's footsteps, I could be my own boss and do whatever I pleased. While the inner battle raged, I dug in my heels, determined to be like my own daddy."