Cedella Booker
Cedella Malcolm Marley Booker (July 23, 1926 – April 8, 2008) was the mother of Jamaica
Jamaica is an island nation of the Greater Antilles, in length, up to in width and 10,990 square kilometres in area. It is situated in the Caribbean Sea, about south of Cuba, and west of Hispaniola, the island harbouring the nation-states Haiti and the Dominican Republic...

n reggae
Reggae is a music genre first developed in Jamaica in the late 1960s. While sometimes used in a broader sense to refer to most types of Jamaican music, the term reggae more properly denotes a particular music style that originated following on the development of ska and rocksteady.Reggae is based...

 musician Bob Marley
Bob Marley
Robert Nesta "Bob" Marley, OM was a Jamaican singer-songwriter and musician. He was the rhythm guitarist and lead singer for the ska, rocksteady and reggae band Bob Marley & The Wailers...

 and a singer and writer.


Booker was born Cedella Malcolm in Rhoden Hall, Saint Ann Parish, Jamaica
Jamaica is an island nation of the Greater Antilles, in length, up to in width and 10,990 square kilometres in area. It is situated in the Caribbean Sea, about south of Cuba, and west of Hispaniola, the island harbouring the nation-states Haiti and the Dominican Republic...

; to Omeriah Malcolm, a prominent magistrate and landowner, and Alberta Whilby. At 18, Malcolm married Norval Sinclair Marley
Norval Marley
Norval Sinclair Marley . The phenotypically white Jamaican became famous as the father of the Reggae musician Bob Marley.Norval Marley was born in Jamaica to Albert Thomas Marley, an English man from Sussex, and Ellen Broomfield a bourgeois coloured Jamaican...

, a white Jamaican of English ancestry, when she became pregnant with his son. Norval Marley was a Marine
Royal Marines
The Corps of Her Majesty's Royal Marines, commonly just referred to as the Royal Marines , are the marine corps and amphibious infantry of the United Kingdom and, along with the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary, form the Naval Service...

 officer and captain as well as the plantation overseer. His family applied constant pressure however, and although he provided financial support for them, the Captain seldom saw his wife and son. Bob was ten years old when Norval died of a heart attack in 1955 at age 70. Cedella and Bob then moved to Trenchtown
Trench Town is a neighborhood located in the parish of St. Andrew which shares municipality with Kingston, the capital and largest city of Jamaica. In the 1960s Trench Town was known as the Hollywood of Jamaica. Today Trench Town boasts the Trench Town Culture Yard Museum, a visitor friendly...

, a slum neighborhood in Kingston
Kingston, Jamaica
Kingston is the capital and largest city of Jamaica, located on the southeastern coast of the island. It faces a natural harbour protected by the Palisadoes, a long sand spit which connects the town of Port Royal and the Norman Manley International Airport to the rest of the island...

. This was the only place Booker could afford to live at the time, being a young woman moving from the country to the big city on her own.

While living in Trenchtown, Booker gave birth to a daughter, Pearl, with Taddeus Livingston, the father of Bunny Livingston – aka Bunny Wailer
Bunny Wailer
Bunny Wailer, , also known as Bunny Livingston and affectionately as Jah B, is a singer songwriter and percussionist and was an original member of reggae group The Wailers along with Bob Marley and Peter Tosh...

 – who formed the original Wailers trio with Bob Marley and Peter Tosh
Peter Tosh
Peter Tosh, born Winston Hubert McIntosh , was a Jamaican reggae musician who was a core member of the band The Wailers , and who afterward had a successful solo career as well as being a promoter of Rastafari.Peter Tosh was born in Grange Hill, Jamaica, an illegitimate child to a mother too young...

 in 1963.

Cedella then married Edward Booker, an American civil servant, and resided first in Delaware
Delaware is a U.S. state located on the Atlantic Coast in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It is bordered to the south and west by Maryland, and to the north by Pennsylvania...

, where she gave birth to two more sons, Richard and Anthony, with Booker. Anthony was killed by a Miami police officer; Richard Booker survives her. After Edward Booker's death in 1976, Cedella moved to Miami, Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

, where she was present at the deathbed of her famous son who died from cancer
Cancer , known medically as a malignant neoplasm, is a large group of different diseases, all involving unregulated cell growth. In cancer, cells divide and grow uncontrollably, forming malignant tumors, and invade nearby parts of the body. The cancer may also spread to more distant parts of the...

 in 1981. Booker lived in Miami for the remainder of her life.

Called "the keeper of the flame," Booker grew voluminous dreadlocks
Dreadlocks, also called locks, a ras, dreads, "rasta" or Jata , are matted coils of hair. Dreadlocks are usually intentionally formed; because of the variety of different hair textures, various methods are used to encourage the formation of locks such as backcombing...

, adopted Rohan Marley
Rohan Marley
Rohan Anthony Marley is the son of late reggae artist Bob Marley and Janet Hunt.A 1991 graduate of Miami Palmetto Senior High School, Marley played linebacker for the University of Miami football team, where he played alongside players like Dwayne Johnson and Ray Lewis. In 1993 he led the...

, Bob Marley's son by Janet Hunt, and occasionally performed live with Marley's children, Ky-Mani
Ky-Mani Marley
Ky-mani is a Jamaican reggae and dancehall artist whose east African name means Adventurous Traveler. The only child of table tennis champion Anita Belnavis and reggae icon Bob Marley, Ky-mani Marley was born in Falmouth, Jamaica...

, Ziggy
Ziggy Marley
David "Ziggy" Marley is a Jamaican musician and leader of the band Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers. He is the oldest son of famed reggae musician Bob Marley...

, Stephen
Stephen Marley (musician)
Stephen Robert Nesta "Raggamuffin" Marley is a Jamaican American musician and the son of reggae legend Bob Marley and his wife Rita Marley. He is a five-time Grammy award winner as an artist, producer, and member of Ziggy Marley & The Melody Makers.-Life and career:Marley was born in Wilmington,...

, Damian
Damian Marley
Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley is a Jamaican reggae artist who has won three Grammy awards. Damian is the youngest son of Bob Marley....

 and Julian Marley
Julian Marley
Julian Ricardo Marley is an English Jamaican reggae musician. He is the son of Bob Marley and a Bajan mother, Lucy Pounder. He is a member of the Rastafari movement.-Biography:...

. Later, she released the music albums Awake Zion and Smilin' Island of Song. Cedella Booker participated in the festivities in Addis Ababa
Addis Ababa
Addis Ababa is the capital city of Ethiopia...

, Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

 commemorating Marley's 60th birthday in 2005. She also wrote two Marley biographies.

Cedella Marley Booker died at the age of 81 in Miami, Florida
Miami, Florida
Miami is a city located on the Atlantic coast in southeastern Florida and the county seat of Miami-Dade County, the most populous county in Florida and the eighth-most populous county in the United States with a population of 2,500,625...

 on April 8, 2008.

The Malcolm house where her parents originally lived was torn down and replaced by the new Bob Marley Foundation building.

Works authored

Booker wrote two books on the subject of her son, Bob Marley.
  • Bob Marley: An Intimate Portrait by His Mother, which was published in 1997 by Penguin Books Ltd (UK), ISBN 978-0140258141
  • Bob Marley, My Son, which was published in 2003 by Taylor Trade Publishing, ISBN 978-0878332984

External links

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