Bob Marley, Chrysler Plant Worker


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 [I know it is not Delaware, but it is a great photo.]

16 thoughts on “Bob Marley, Chrysler Plant Worker

  1. my great uncle told me today (I live in Delaware he lives in wilmington delaware) tht he was there when Marley Wrote the song night shift he worked with bob market and knew his family he worked Night shift with him at Chrysler on the fort lifts. I was stunned I didn’t even know. My uncle has his application on file I’ve seen it. he’s also friends with bobs second cousin Anita and Bobs mom or cousin still lives in Wilmington a couple miles away from my church.


    1. Hi Amber, I’m working on a book on reggae and would love to talk to you about what you wrote about your great uncle. Would you be up for a chat? (I know this is coming 7 years later but still…)



  2. i remember meeting bob marley at the chrysler plant in newark, that time he was installing seat belts in dodge pick up trucks and vans.he said it was diffucult to manage the belts around the seats.


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