Sharon Gillespie was born in 1945 and raised by her grandmother in Oklahoma before moving to Ann Arbor with her mother at age nine. She remembers redlining in Ann Arbor and the breakup of the historically Black neighborhood she grew up in. She helped raise two younger sisters while her mother attended ophthalmology school at the University of Michigan. Gillespie excelled in her career as a typesetter at local businesses. After retiring, she has been active in volunteering at homeless shelters and hospice programs. She was married to Raymond Gillespie for 21 years.