A group of journalism students at the University of Delaware has just produced a documentary called “Left Behind” chronicling the history of Chrysler’s plant in Newark, Del. The plant is located just south of the university’s main campus. The 38-minute piece is full of interesting tidbits, like the fact that singer Bob Marley worked at the plant as a forklift operator before gaining international fame for his music.
Marley’s Delaware legacy lives in the annual People’s Festival and Bob Marley Tribute, usually celebrated in July at Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park in Wilmington, with discounted tickets available to those who donate school supplies for the Cedella Marley Academy, the school his mother founded in Nine Mile, Jamaica, his home town.
The link between Marley and Delaware was established by his mother Cedella, who, after his father died, stayed with her sister in Wilmington, where she remarried and settled. Cedella ran a shop on Market Street called Roots, specializing in Jamaican music, which she closed after a 1976 burglary, just before she moved to Miami. Bob Marley and his wife lived in the city “on and off from 1965 to 1977” while he worked a variety of jobs, saving money to start a record company in Jamaica. Details on the types of jobs he worked out are few, but they included brief stints as a DuPont Co. lab assistant and as assembly-line worker at the Chrysler assembly plant in Newark, most likely as a night shift forklift operator in Chrysler’s parts warehouse. His 1976 song, “Night Shift,” is said to refer to this experience. Three of Marley’s children later lived with his mother and went to school in the city. He also stayed with her during U.S. concert tours.
Last year’s Bob Marley tribute was dedicated to his mother Cedella, who died in 2008.
Photo at http://djodcharity.wordpress.com/category/bob-marley-biography/ [I know it is not Delaware, but it is a great photo.]