Vince was born on a cotton plantation in Haywood County, Tennessee, where his parents were sharecroppers. His father later prospered in the insurance field – raising Vince and his seven siblings from poverty into the middle class.
In grade school, the Ellison Family gospel singing group was formed and performed in black churches and the gospel music community through Vince’s college years. Through his experiences in gospel music, Vince gained intimate knowledge of the inner workings and failings of many of black churches and their ministers.
While he received a degree from Memphis State University, he says his real-world education came from working as a correctional officer at a maximum-security prison in South Carolina. Vince later worked with many black civic organizations in the nonprofit arena.
In 2000, he ran for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 6th Congressional District of South Carolina.
Jussie Smollett and the Power of Black Male Victimization (December 2021)