Joe Williams, a native of Oktibbeha County, was raised by his parents Robert and Rosie Williams in the Bethel community, where his family was actively involved in Bethel Baptist Church. Joe and his wife, Mozella Robinson Williams, are members of Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church, where he serves as a deacon. They are the parents of the late Tarvis Williams and Dr. Lekeshia Williams Jarrett, who is married to Dr. Christopher Jarrett. Williams received a bachelor's degree in education from Jackson State University, a master's degree in education from Mississippi State University, and an education specialist degree from MSU. He was honorably discharged from the United States Army.