Sligh was born in Washington, D.C., raised in Arlington, Virginia, lived in Manhattan for 30 years and now resides in Philadelphia. She is currently a faculty member at New York University and the University of Pennsylvania. One’s life sometimes collides with moments in history, causing it to be altered dramatically by external change. Certainly this was so for Clarissa Thompson Sligh. When she was 15 years old she became the lead plaintiff in the 1955 school desegregation case in Virginia (Clarissa Thompson et. al. vs. Arlington County School Board). From that moment forward, her work as a student and as a professional – first in math/science working for NASA, later in business, and finally, in the arts – has taken into account change, transformation, and complication: themes that related to her experiences fostering social justice.