Sammie L. Welton, Jr. was born in Mound Bayou, MS in the predominately African American Taborian Hospital. He was reared in Itta Bena, Mississippi and is the third of five children. He has two older brothers and two younger sisters. He attended the L. S. Rogers Laboratory (Elementary) School on the campus of Mississippi Valley State University.
When he entered the seventh (7th) grade he was bused to Amanda Elzy High School fifteen (15) miles away due to segregation in the Leflore County School system. He graduated in 1969. Upon graduation from high school, he enrolled in Mississippi Valley State University (MVSU) in Itta Bena, Mississippi. He earned a B.S. Degree in Political Science in 1974. He joined the Navy in March of 1974 and was honorably discharged in 1978. Upon his return he reenrolled in the Elementary Education undergrad and graduate programs while working as the Athletic Residence Hall Director for nine (9) years. He graduated with a MS in Elementary Education in 1985. In November of 1988 he was hired at Tougaloo College in Tougaloo (Jackson), MS as a Trio Program Counselor.
In 1989 he became the Assistant Director for the Educational Talent Search Program where he served until 1990. In November of 1990, he was hired as the Race Desegregation Coordinator for the Mississippi State Department of Education. His duties and responsibilities included providing technical assistance for race desegregation concerns, i.e., allegations of discrimination. He took a proactive approach to his job and subsequently co-founded the Leadership Conference for Minority Administrators.