…by his mother, Lucille Hendrix née Jeter His mother, having difficulties, had put him in the care of a couple in California. On his release from the army his father, James Albert “Al” Hendrix, retrieved him and re-named him James Marshall Hendrix in memory of his deceased brother, Leon Marshall Hendrix. He was known as “Buster” to friends and family, from birth. Shortly after this Al reunited with Lucille. Hendrix had two brothers, Leon and Joseph, and two sisters, Kathy and Pamela. Joseph was born with physical difficulties and at the age of three was given up to state care. His two sisters were both given up at a relatively early age, for care and later adoption, Kathy was born blind and Pamela had some lesser physical difficulties. Al found it hard to gain steady employment after the Second World War, and the family experienced financial hardship. Hendrix’s parents divorced when he was nine years old, and his mother died in 1958. On occasion, he was sent to live with his grandmother in Vancouver, Washington because of his unstable household, and his brother Leon was put into temporary welfare care for a period. Hendrix grew up as a shy and sensitive boy, deeply affected by the conditions of poverty and neglect that he was raised in, and by the troubling family events of his childhood. In a relatively unusual experience for African Americans of his era, Hendrix’ high school had a relatively equitable ethnic mix of African, European (including Jews) and Asian (Japanese, Philipino and Chinese) Americans. Most American inner cities of the 1950s were heavily segregated by race, as was Seattle, so for most of his upbringing he lived in the predominantly African American Central District along with white, Asian and Native American residents.
At age 15, around the time his mother died, he acquired his first acoustic guitar…