The Family Saga of Stevie Wonder: Deep Roots in East Chicago, Indiana

Lula Hardaway the beloved mother of Stevie Wonder eventually gave Stevie the surname Morris,named after their Morris relatives,in East Chicago, Indiana with whom she once lived.Lula’s maiden name was Hardaway,the father of Stevie and his siblings was Calvin Judkins. Lula retained the Hardaway surname for her children rather than Judkins, with the exception of Stevie, who was given the name of his grand parents whose Liquor store business and property are shown in the picture above. The Morris and Hardaway families of East Chicago played a huge part in Stevie’s formative years, this was the pre-Finger tips era and the Live Regal theater recording that catapulted him to stardom as “Little Stevie Wonder”.The biography of mom, Lula for some odd reason omits her life in East Chicago where she actually migrated to from Eufaula, Alabama.Instead the biographer fictitiously places my old neighborhood where some of Stevie’s and his mom’s folks lived as in the City of Chicago proper, which is false and completely inaccurate.Stevie Wonder uses Morris as his legal surname. As a side bar,there’s a similar distortion portrayed erroneously in the TV biopic of “The Jacksons”, that runs on cable TV repeatedly. It shows the couple Joe and Catherine as living and meeting in Chicago, however, for the record, Joe and Catherine Jackson met in East Chicago, Indiana 20 miles southeast of Chicago’s Loop, where Joe worked as a crane operator at Inland Steel and not US Steel in Gary, Indiana as presented in the movie. The couple soon after married and moved to Gary where they started the family, the rest is history. I suppose using the City of Chicago as a romantic backdrop was much more appealing to Hollywood producers than the gritty industrial melting pot of a blue collar town like East Chicago was back in the day. One interesting fact is Stevie’s beloved mom Lula and Michael’s beloved mom Catherine lived only a few blocks apart in the City of East Chicago, Indiana.The good folks who live there know the true story and Stevie and the youth(especially my sister and her crew) whom followed him and his care taker around like groupies during the hot summer have fondest memories of his many visits and childhood vacations spent in the old “hood”. D.Day 2014


Morris Family Liquor Store, owned by Stevie’s relatives Bob and Ilona Morris, East Chicago, Indiana


Lula Mae Hardaway, and son Stevie Hardaway Morris


Stevie samples his mom’s home cooking as his siblings look on.


Stevie Wonder and Dennis Day at Harlem’s Hueman Bookstore


Sir Steveland Judkins Hardaway-Morris aka Stevie Wonder

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