Charles Wilson was born and raised in Springfield. His grandparents raised him after his mother was killed in a car accident. While living with his grandparents, Charles discovered that his great-grandfather was a lynching victim in the 1908 Springfield Race Riot. Charles joined the school band in high school, which began a life-long love of music. He continued to play trumpet and French horn in bands throughout his life, including the army band and his own band, the Chuck Wilson Band.
See also the interview with wife Jenrose Wilson