Ancestry and childhood
Jimi Hendrix was of African American descent. Both his mother Lucille and father Al were African Americans. His paternal grandmother, Zenora "Nora" Rose Moore, was African American and one-quarter Cherokee. Hendrix's paternal grandfather, Bertran Philander Ross Hendrix (born 1866), was the result of an extramarital affair between a woman named Fanny, and a grain merchant from Urbana, Ohio, or Illinois, one of the wealthiest men in the area at that time. On June 10, 1919, Hendrix and Moore had a son they named James Allen Ross Hendrix; people called him Al.
In 1941, Al met Lucille Jeter (1925–1958) at a dance in Seattle; they married on March 31, 1942. Al, who had been drafted by the U.S. Army to serve in World War II, left to begin his basic training three days after the wedding. Johnny Allen Hendrix was born on November 27, 1942, in Seattle; he was the first of Lucille's five children. In 1946, Johnny's parents changed his name to James Marshall Hendrix, in honor of Al and his late brother Leon Marshall.
Stationed in Alabama at the time of Hendrix's birth, Al was denied the standard military furlough afforded servicemen for childbirth; his commanding officer placed him in the stockade to prevent him from going AWOL to see his infant son in Seattle. He spent two months locked up without trial, and while in the stockade received a telegram announcing his son's birth. During Al's three-year absence, Lucille struggled to raise their son. When Al was away, Hendrix was mostly cared for by family members and friends, especially Lucille's sister Delores Hall and her friend Dorothy Harding. Al received an honorable discharge from the U.S. Army on September 1, 1945. Two months later, unable to find Lucille, Al went to the Berkeley, California, home of a family friend named Mrs. Champ, who had taken care of and had attempted to adopt Hendrix; this is where Al saw his son for the first time.