Curtis Mayfield parents: Meet Marion Washington, Kenneth Mayfield.

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Curtis Lee Mayfield was an American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and record producer who was a key figure in the development of soul and politically conscious African-American music. Mayfield rose to prominence as a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-inducted group The Impressions during the civil rights movement of the late 1950s and early 1960s, and later as a solo artist.

Mayfield’s career began in 1956, when he joined the Roosters alongside Arthur, Richard, and Jerry Brooks. The Roosters, who now included Sam Gooden, became the Impressions two years later. Butler had two hit singles with the band, “For Your Precious Love” and “Come Back My Love,” before leaving. Mayfield briefly joined him, co-writing and performing on Butler’s next hit, “Mayfield Will Break Your Heart,” before rejoining the Impressions and signing with ABC Records, where he worked with the label’s Chicago-based producer/A&R manager, Johnny Pate.

Meet Marion Washington, Kenneth Mayfield.

Curtis Lee Mayfield is one of five children born to Marion Washington and Kenneth Mayfield. Curtis Mayfield’s father abandoned the family when he was five years old, and his mother relocated the family to several Chicago public housing projects before settling in Cabrini-Green during his adolescence.