|Birth name||Cedella Malcolm Booker|
|Also known as||Cedella Marley Booker
The Keeper of the Flame
July 23, 1926|
Saint Ann Parish, Jamaica
|Died||April 8, 2008
Miami, Florida, United States
|Genres||Reggae, ska, soul, gospel|
|Associated acts||Bob Marley|
Booker was born Sidilla Editha Malcolm in Rhoden Hall, Saint Ann Parish, Jamaica, daughter Albertha Whilby and Omeriah Malcolm, a farmer, a "bush doctor", and one of the most respected residents of Nine Mile (son of Robert "Uncle Day" Malcolm, who descended from the Cromanty slaves shipped to Jamaica from the African Gold Coast in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries). At 18, Cedella Malcolm married Norval Sinclair Marley, a white Jamaican of British and rumored Syrian Jewish descent, whose father's family came from England; the family of his mother, Ellen Marley (née Broomfield), came from the Levant. She became pregnant with his son, Robert Nesta (whose second given name "Nesta" means prophetically "wise messenger"). Norval Marley was an officer 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, a slum neighborhood in Kingston. 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 killed in a shootout with Miami police after walking through a shopping mall with a 12 ga. shotgun and opening fire on responding police; Richard Booker 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 in 1981. Booker lived in Miami for the remainder of her life.
Called "the keeper of the flame," Cedella grew voluminous dreadlocks, adopted Rohan Marley, Bob Marley's 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.
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 978-0-14-025814-1
- Bob Marley, My Son, which was published in 2003 by Taylor Trade Publishing, ISBN 978-0-87833-298-4
- Dunlap, David W (2008-04-11). "Cedella Marley Booker: Keeper of the Marley flame". The Independent. Retrieved 2008-04-10.
- by ivan (2003-06-29). "Interview with Heather Marley". Bobmarleymagazine. Retrieved 2013-09-22.
- Adam Chandler (2013-02-13). "Bob Marley’s Jewish Father". Tablet Magazine. Retrieved 2014-01-01.
- "The Life and Legacy of Bob Marley". BobMarley.com Official Website. Retrieved 25 April 2009.
- The story of Cedella Booker and Bob Marley
- Wailers Discography- Family Tree
- Cedella Marley Booker at the Reggae Kentucky Splash
- Cedella Marley about her son Bob Marley