Fredericka Washington was born in Savannah, Georgia on December 23, 1908. She was the second of five children and her mother, Hattie passed away when she was a little girl. After her mother's death, Fredi was sent to a school for "colored/minority" girls in Philadelphia, because at the time "motherless girls" were considered orphans. Her younger sister Isabel would come as well. Her father Robert had remarried, but his wife died during her pregnancy. His third marriage produced four children, giving Fredi a total of eight siblings.
While still in Philadelphia, Fredi's family moved to Harlem during "The Great Migration". She and her sister would soon follow them.