Tag Archives: MOVE

Remember: They Bombed Philadelphia’s Black Community

rashid-moveThere have been many unthinkable travesties inflicted on Black people in this place the slaves called “merica.” We know about the lynchings, rapes, and thefts that were all too common and the many atrocities protected by law. In fact, because these horrors were done under cover of law they were useful tools to suppress the people of the stolen tribes of Africa. It continues today with the countless police killings. Not many people are aware of just how extreme and the lengths these people went to use some of these extreme forms of brutality. For example, what happened in Tulsa Oklahoma in 1921 where the government bombed and destroyed an entire black community.

They bombed Tulsa in 1921, the same thing was done to a black community in modern times. There was a radical organization called MOVE in West Philadelphia; there was a group originally called the Christian Movement for Life, founded in 1972. Its founder, John Africa, was functionally illiterate, or so they say, dictated a document called The Guideline to Donald Glassey, a social worker from the University of Pennsylvania. Africa and his contemporaries, mostly African American followers, wore their hair in dreadlocks. They advocated a radical form of green politics and a return to a hunter-gatherer society while stating their opposition to science, medicine, and technology.

As John Africa himself had done, his devotees also changed their surnames to Africa to show reverence to the continent, which they regarded as their mother continent. John Africa’s MOVE members lived in a commune in a house owned by Glassey in the Powelton Village section of West Philadelphia. They staged bullhorn-amplified, profanity-laced demonstrations against institutions that opposed morally, such as zoos (MOVE had strong views on animal rights) and speakers whose views they opposed. MOVE activities drew scrutiny from law enforcement authorities because of complaints from neighbors and the community.

As tensions grew, on August 8, 1978, a deadly end came to an almost year-long standoff with police over a court order requiring MOVE to vacate their Powelton Village house. When police attempted entry, shooting erupted and Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) Officer James J. Ramp was killed by a shot to the back of the head. MOVE representatives claimed that he was facing the house at the time and denied any responsibility for his death. Seven other police officers, five firefighters, three MOVE members, and three bystanders were also injured. Nine MOVE members were each sentenced to a maximum of 100 years in prison for third-degree murder for Ramp’s killing. Seven of the nine first became eligible for parole in the spring of 2008 – all were denied.

In 1981, MOVE relocated to a row house at 6221 Osage Avenue in the Cobbs Creek area of West Philadelphia. Neighbors had complained for years that MOVE members were broadcasting political messages by bullhorn at all hours and about the health hazards created by piles of compost. On May 13, 1985, after the complaints as well as indictments for numerous MOVE members for crimes ranging from parole violations, contempt of court, illegal possession of firearms, and making terrorist threats, the PPD attempted to clear the building and arrest the indicted MOVE members.

This led to an armed standoff with police, who lobbed tear gas canisters at the building. MOVE members fired at the police, who returned fire with automatic weapons. PPD Commissioner George Sambor then ordered that the compound be bombed from a Pennsylvania State Police helicopter. PPD Lt. Frank Powell proceeded to drop two one-pound bombs made of FBI supplied water gel explosive, a dynamite substitute, targeting a fortified, bunker-like cubicle on the roof of the house.

The resulting explosions ignited a massive blaze that eventually destroyed approximately 65 nearby houses. The firefighters, who had earlier deluge-hosed the MOVE members in a failed attempt to evict them from the building, stood by and watched the inferno caused after the military grade C-4 bomb engulfed the first house, refusing to intervene because they had been given orders to let the fire burn. Officials feared that MOVE would shoot at the firefighters as they had done before. Eleven people (John Africa, five other adults, and five children) died in the resulting fire. Ramona Africa, one of the two survivors, stated that police fired at those trying to escape the burning house while the police stated that MOVE members had been firing at police.

Mayor W. Wilson Goode a black mayor who was complicit soon appointed an investigative commission called the PSIC (aka MOVE Commission), which issued its report on March 6, 1986. The report denounced the actions of the city government, stating that “Dropping a bomb on an occupied row house was unconscionable.” No one from the city government was charged criminally.

In 1996, a federal jury ordered the city to pay a $1.5 million civil suit judgment to survivor Ramona Africa and relatives of two people killed in the bombing. The jury found that the city used excessive force and violated the member’s constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure. Philadelphia was given the sobriquet “The City that Bombed Itself.”

Ramona Africa, the lone survivor, acts as a spokesperson for the group and has given numerous talks at leftist events throughout the US and in other countries. Mumia Abu-Jamal, convicted of the 1981 murder of police officer Daniel Faulkner, was closely involved with MOVE. MOVE continues to advocate for Abu-Jamal’s release as well as that of imprisoned MOVE members, whom the group regarded as a political prisoner.

The problem as I see it was not that they bombed a black community. They have done things like this before and worst, but that it was ordered by a black mayor. Never forget what they think of black people’s lives! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

Let The Fire Burn” Full Documentary


In the past few days, it has been reported that the last of the Angola 3 will be released from prison. Great news but the entire life of Albert Woodfox has been stolen and much of the last forty year has been spent in solitary confinement. There have been many atrocities at the hands of the American justices system imposed upon black people but this case is one of the worst and dare I say a crime against humanity!

I think we all know that terror is rooted in the foundation of the History of America. African Americans and others are well aware of groups like the KKK, and some may government agencies that are known only by alphabets that use these tactics against some Americans. Surely, it’s been used on people around the world in the name of freedom.

I am only suggesting that there are some crimes committed under the guise of law that are beyond the scope of justice. Case in point, the Angola Three, which I am sure you have never heard of. This is a hideous a case in Louisiana’s prison system that holds the record for the longest incarceration of a human being placed in solitary confinement.

It’s been over 40 years since the day Herman Wallace, and Albert Woodfox have been held in solitary confinement in Louisiana. The state says they were guilty of murdering a guard at Angola Prison, but Wallace, Woodfox and their network of supporters say they were framed for their political activism as members of the Black Panthers. Since April 17, 1972 or nearly 14,650 days Woodfox and Wallace have been held in solitary confinement living in a six by nine-foot prison cell only being allowed out for an hour a day. This is without question cruel and unusual punishment.

These two men founded the Angola chapter of the Black Panther Party in 1971. A third prisoner, Robert King, joined them a year later. The three campaigned for better-working conditions and racial solidarity between inmates, as well as an end to rape and sexual slavery. Today, two of the three men remain in this condition that Amnesty International continues to support their effort for fair and reasonable justice.

Amnesty USA says it will deliver a petition to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal that bears the signatures of tens of thousands of people from 125 countries asking for his intervention. They are asking “the state of Louisiana and we want the world to know that we are still focusing on this case.

This is a total violation of human rights and civil rights,” King says. “And it is ongoing.” Robert King was released in 2001 when his conviction was overturned, and he pleaded guilty to a lesser offense. I am not saying that a crime was not committed but does this punishment fit the crime.

It has been said that injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere. After forty-one years in solitary confinement, seventy-one year old Herman Wallace is free at last. Thankfully, as it has been reported, Albert Woodfox in finally free. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

Info about the case: http://angola3.org/thecase.aspx


WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

SHUTDOWN: Snakes In The House

13The snake has always been deemed the reptile most associated with evil. I don’t want to sound too biblical but we remember the story of Adam and Eve! So from the very beginning of this Republican ideological conflict within their “Klan” things have intensified since the so-called “Young Guns” arrived. It is obvious they want to destroy America or at least want America to fail, which reminds me of what it must have been like in the years leading to the American Civil War.

This move to shut down the US Government over Obamacare is like “putting pins in a voodoo doll” that looks like President of Obama. By the way, the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land and the law takes effect today. This insanity of consequences be damn is just another attempt to damage the legacy of President Obama – if not destroy it. In other words these so-call patriots are nothing more than “terrorists”.

The Tea-party populism has moved quickly to do everything they can to attack and destroy American. Hence, we will see a revolt against the Republican “establishment” or a revolt against anyone who accepts the constraints of a political reality. Conservatives are excommunicated not for holding the wrong convictions but for rational calculations of their convictions.

The U.S. government began a shutdown today for the first time in 17 years after a Congress bitterly divided over President Obama’s signature health-care initiative failed to reach agreement to fund federal agencies. So the so-called “job creators” allowed millions of Americans to be out of work confirms that this is the worst Congress in history. These so-called patriots have declared war on us all.

I don’t like to name names but the generals of the this confederacy have names like Cruz, Boehner, McConnell, Ryan, Cantor, and about twenty crazies hell bent on political disaster have all the virtue of an un-intellectual clown circus.

The impasse means 800,000 federal workers will be furloughed, national parks, monuments and museums, as well as most federal offices, will close. Tens of thousands of air-traffic controllers, prison guards and Border Patrol agents will be required to serve without pay.

In a last-minute ray of hope for active-duty troops, Congress approved and sent to the White House an agreement to keep issuing military paychecks. But Obama warned that the broader economy, which is finally starting to recover from the shocks of the Bush years, would take a substantial hit if congressional gridlock shutters “America’s largest employer.”

“Keeping the people’s government open is not a concession to me. Keeping vital services running and hundreds of thousands of Americans on the job is not something you ‘give’ to the other side. It’s our basic responsibility,” Obama said in a statement Monday evening at the White House.

Privately, senior Republicans predicted that the closure would last at least a week. A fraction of today’s House Republicans were on Capitol Hill in 1995 and 1996 when a Republican-led Congress last shut down the government in a dispute over the budget with a Democratic president. Younger lawmakers don’t remember the pain the shutdown caused constituents, senior and the poor and many of them now question the conventional wisdom that the closures weakened the GOP presidential candidate in 1996 and nearly cost the party control of the House.

So for all of the folks who support those so-called patriots, who wear the funny hats, pointed or otherwise, will now feel the pain of their insanity. So yes, I’ll say these terrorists or teajadists are snakes in the house. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…



A Mighty Soldier

12Last week the world lost a mighty soldier with the passing Dr. Evelyn Lowery to which I offer my heartfelt sympathy to her husband, the great Joseph Lowery and family. Dr. Lowery fought the good fight until her last days on this earth and I thank you.

She fought hard for her people and mentored women everywhere. She was the epitome of what should be described as a strong black woman always by her husband’s side as he rose to become one of the great leaders of the civil rights movement.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution tells a story about how Mrs. Lowery only had one incident where she didn’t march beside her husband. In 1979, they were in Decatur, Alabama, protesting the conviction of Tommy Lee Hines, a disabled man who’d been accused of raping a white woman. Her husband felt that there would be danger, so he had his wife ride in a Buick behind the marchers.

The group was confronted by the KKK and shots were fired. The car was hit by two bullets and she barely got away. “I could hear them yelling ‘Kill ‘em all!’ she said. “It lasted probably about 10 minutes, but it seemed like an eternity.” The couple still keeps the Buick in their driveway as a reminder of the struggle that they fought in order to help secure the rights that black people have to this day.

“My beloved Evelyn was a special woman, whose life was committed to service, especially around the issues of empowering women,” Joseph Lowery said in a statement. “She was a wonderful mother and wife, and I thank God that she didn’t suffer any pain and that I was blessed having her as my partner, my confidant and my best friend for close to 70 years. I will miss her each and every day, but as a man of faith, I know that she is with her God.”

Evelyn and her husband were married on April 5, 1948.  So, that’s 65-years of marriage which will soon transform into an eternity. Mrs. Lowery died from a stroke this week at the age of 88. For all of you great work; I pray that your soul rest in peace. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

A Portrait Of Urban Terror

1On May 31st in Tulsa, Oklahoma police dropped dynamite on the flourishing Black neighborhood of Greenwood bombing it from the air destroying what was known as “Black Wall Street”.

Andre Jones wrote a great piece that recounts a very important part of a relatively recent African American history that most people know very little about. In Philadelphia an organization known as MOVE were bombed much in the same way. The city sanctioned this massacre that took place on May 13th, 1985 in the Cobbs Creek neighborhood of West Philadelphia.

Here is the story:

The MOVE organization was initially founded by John Africa (born Vincent Leaphart), who dropped out of high school at age 16 with a third grade reading level. After serving in the Korean War and becoming disgusted at the American “class system”, John met Donald Glassey, a social worker at University of Pennsylvania. Though John was, for all purposes, functionally illiterate – this did not stop him from making astute observations about how society operated. Glassey who became quite interested in John’s ideas offering to transcribe those thoughts. This cumulated into a three-hundred page manuscript that became known as “The Guidelines” – the “bible” of the MOVE organization.

The original name of MOVE was actually “Christian Movement for Life”, which was shortened to “the Movement” and ended up being simply called MOVE. Though considered a black liberation group by many, The MOVE organization attracted both black and white members who were frustrated with society and needed “answers” to many societal ills. MOVE seemed to provide answers to those questions.

MOVE’s back-to-nature approach involved eating only raw food, eschewing soap and electricity, and refusing to practice any type of birth control measures. After hearing various complaints from neighbors regarding various intolerable living habits of the MOVE members, such as loud and profane proselytizing through the use of a bullhorn and composting which created a rodent issue among other health hazards, the city and its then mayor, Frank Rizzo, decided to get involved.

In May of 1977, MOVE members started appearing on their porch at 307-309 N 33rd St, in Powelton Village wearing military outfits and brandishing firearms in response to an order to vacate the premises (owned by Donald Glassey). This set off a 14 month siege which tragically ended on August 8th, 1978 with a police officer being killed in a shootout with MOVE members. The MOVE home was demolished, and nine of its members were sentenced to prison terms ranging from thirty to one hundred years (those members are now known as “The MOVE 9”). Two years later, MOVE relocated to 6221 Osage Avenue in the Cobbs Creek area of West Philadelphia where the same problems presented themselves along with new ones.

After numerous complaints from neighbors along with various indictments of MOVE members for various crimes, on March 13, 1985, the Philadelphia Police Department attempted to remove and arrest indicted MOVE members from the Osage Avenue building.  As before, this resulted in an armed standoff with the Philadelphia Police Department.  This time they went a drastic step further, dropping two improvised bombs made of C-4 and Tovex (a dynamite substitute and a water gel explosive used in underwater mining), on the roof of the MOVE home. The deadly attack left 11 of 13 MOVE members who were inside the home dead, five of which were children. The resulting fire destroyed 61 homes and left 240 people homeless. Philadelphia is the second American city to use explosives on its own constituents and became known as “The City That Bombed Itself”.

A Federal jury found that Police Commissioner Gregore J. Sambor and Fire Commissioner William C. Richmond made a decision to allow the resulting fire to burn for almost an hour (the bombs did not create the desired effect), creating the aforementioned disaster. They awarded the two remaining survivors, Ramona Africa and young Birdie Africa (Michael Ward), a total of $1.5 million in civil damages, finding the City of Philadelphia liable for the fire that ended up killing 11 MOVE members and turning a working class city block into ashes. Over twenty families are still battling the City of Philadelphia to pay for their demolished homes.

We think America is a great place, which is true but often times it is not so much for people of color. History has shown that it will repeat itself – thanks for the reminder Andre Jones. An atrocity such as this could happen to you. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

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