Early life and education
DuVernay was born in Long Beach, California. She was raised by her mother, Darlene, an educator, and her father, Murray Maye. She grew up in Lynwood, California, which is near Compton.
During her summer vacations, she would travel to the childhood home of her father, which was not far from Selma, Alabama. DuVernay said that these summers influenced the making of Selma, as her father saw the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches as a small child.
In 1990, DuVernay graduated from Saint Joseph High School in Lakewood. At the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), she was a double BA major in English literature and African-American studies.