"[B]orn in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. His father farmed, operated his own trucks, and worked at odd jobs. Mr. Fells finished high school in Hattiesburg, from where he went to Alcorn A and M College and on to Chicago City College, Chicago State University, and University of Illinois, Circle Campus, taking degrees in mathematics. From January 1966 through 1969, Mr. Fells served in the Air Force, including service in the Vietnam War. Upon returning to the United States after his Vietnam experience, Mr. Fells returned to the University of Illinois and to his job at the Sherwin-Williams Company as a laboratory supervisor. He returned to Mississippi to live in 1972, and he became the executive director of Forrest-Stone Area Opportunity, Inc., which included his working with the Head Start program."--Guide to the Oral History with Bert Fells, University of Southern Mississippi.