|Thursday, 21 May 2009 10:20|
Cedella Marley Booker
Born: July 23, 1926
Died: April 8, 2008
Cause of death: Natural causes in her sleep.
Notable because: At 18 became pregnant by Norval Marley - 32 years her senior, and brought up their child, mostly without help, to be a world changing musical legend.
Cedella Marley Booker was the Jamaican mother of the reggae musician Bob Marley and a singer and writer.
Booker was born Cedella Malcolm in Rhoden Hall, Saint Ann Parish, Jamaica; to Omeriah Malcolm, a prominent magistrate and landowner, and Alberta Whilby. At 18, Malcolm married Norval Sinclair Marley, a white Jamaican of Scottish ancestry, when she became pregnant with his son. Norval Marley was a Marine 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 60. Cedella and Bob then moved to Trenchtown, a slum neighborhood in Kingston, Jamaica. 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 – who formed the original Wailers trio with Bob Marley and Peter Tosh in 1963.
Cedella then married Edward Booker, an American civil servant, and resided first in Delaware, where she gave birth to two more sons, Richard and Anthony, with Booker. Anthony was shot dead by a Miami police officer; Richard Booker also survives her. After Edward Booker's death in 1976, Cedella moved to Miami, Florida, where she was present at the deathbed of her famous son who died from cancer at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in 1981. Booker lived in Miami for the remainder of her life.
Called "the keeper of the flame," Booker grew voluminous dreadlocks, adopted Rohan Marley, his son by Janet Hunt, and occasionally performed live with Marley's children, Ky-Mani, Ziggy, Stephen, Damian and Julian Marley. Later, she released the music albums Awake Zion and Smilin' Island of Song. Cedella Booker participated in the festivities in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 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 on April 8, 2008.
The Malcolm house where her parents originally lived was torn down and replaced by the new Bob Marley Foundation building.
|Last Updated on Friday, 22 June 2012 07:47|