Today marks the 29th year since the Philadelphia-based movement’s headquarters were bombed by law enforcement
On this date in 1985, a four pound bomb made of the explosive C-4 and Tovex, a dynamite substitute, was dropped onto the roof of a revolutionary organization by American state and federal agencies, killing six adults and five children.
No, this was not in Afghanistan, Iraq, or any other country that the media has trained the general public to believe is justified in receiving such an attack. This military action was executed on American citizens.
MOVE, which was founded in 1972 by Vincent Leaphart, who later became known as John Africa, lived communally and frequently engaged in public demonstrations related to issues they deemed important. MOVE’s early protests centered around treatment of animals in zoos and circuses and poor housing conditions for the elderly. As time went by, MOVE began to protest chemical companies such as Dow Chemical and DuPont. As the decade wore on, MOVE began to be targeted by the Philadelphia Police Department for its views on technology and its “getting back to nature” mentality.
In 1978, a negotiation was reached to vacate their Powellton Village headquarters after a year-long standoff with the police, however, they refused to follow the court order and vacate. After the eviction notice was served on the premises, the Philadelphia PD attempted re-entry, in which Officer James Ramp was shot in the back of the head and killed. In turn, nine members of the group were found guilty of 3rd degree murder and all sentenced to 30-100 years in prison. 7 of the 9 became eligible for parole in 2008, but were all denied.
Following the 1978 shoot-out, or “shoot-in” as it has been called by some, the MOVE house was immediately bulldozed despite a court order against its destruction — as well as the fact of it being a crime scene — by the city on the orders of mayor Frank L. Rizzo. This destroyed any and all defense evidence. For the next seven years, MOVE worked tirelessly to free the MOVE 9 and other members of the organization who had been jailed. MOVE relocated to Osage Avenue in West Philadelphia. After neighborhood complaints about dirtiness, rat infestations, and MOVE’s refusal to use electricity and gas, another eviction notice was drawn up to relocate MOVE members. This time 500 to 600 armed law enforcement descended into the Osage Avenue neighborhood and neighborhood residents were ordered to evacuate their homes. On the morning of May 13, 1985 MOVE headquarters was bombarded with water from fire hoses. Then came the tear gas. At 5:20 p.m. the four pound C-4 bomb was dropped and MOVE headquarters caught fire. Despite using fire hoses to try to get MOVE members to evacuate the house on Osage Avenue, after the fire started the fire department turned no hoses towards the flames. Instead, the flames of the fire were left to burn destroying MOVE headquarters and 58 other houses in the neighborhood. Neighborhood residents were shocked and appalled by what had transpired. Eleven people – six adults and five children – were massacred, an entire neighborhood was burned to the ground and over 280 people were displaced from their homes.
(Delbert Africa dragged by Philadelphia police officers after they dropped a bomb on the MOVE home.)
According to a chosen few, the price of freedom is death. MOVE members have given and continue to give their lives in the struggle for freedom, justice, and equality.
A revolutionary soldier salute goes out to Sister Debbie Africa, who I have had the honor of corresponding with and has sat in a Pa. prison cell for 25 years in the name of freedom. She gave birth to her son Mike Jr. in her prison cell on September 15, 1978 with no medical assistance
-Sha Be Allah(@KingPenStatus)