Lula Mae Hardaway, the mother of legendary artist Stevie Wonder, has died following an undisclosed illness.
Wonder, whose real name is Steveland Morris Judkins Hardaway, collaborated on several songs with his mother, including his classic hit, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered.” Hardaway was also the subject of a book entitled, “Blind Faith: The Miraculous Journey of Lula Hardaway.”
Born in a sharecropper’s shack in Alabama in 1932, Lula was the child of an unmarried teenage mother and absent father, according to her book. She lived with several relatives before giving birth to three sons by the age of 20. She eventually found work in a factory as many women did after World War II, but was limited by a lack of education and training.
As a teenager, she was sent to Chicago where she married a much older man who abused her and forced her to work as a prostitute. Determined to build a better life for her children, she eventually made her escape to Detroit.
Although her youngest son, Steveland, was virtually blind from birth, Lula noticed his incredible musical genius. Soon, Motown’s Berry Gordy entered the picture with a record contract, and Lula’s days of poverty and struggle began to fade into the distance.
When “Innervisions” won a Grammy award for Album of the Year in 1973, Wonder refused to accept the award unless Lula walked with him to the podium where he proclaimed, "her strength has led us to this place."
Stevie Wonder recently visited Lansing, MI when he was honored as one of 12 Michigan notables in the first group inducted into the Michigan Walk of Fame.
Reprinted with permission by www.eurweb.com. Anir Senyah TNCP reporter contributed to this story.