Tag Archives: Philadelphia

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

The Sound Of Philadelphia: Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff

Happy birthday to Kenny Gamble one half of 8these two giants who were equally as significant as the founders of Motown and STAX records because they created “The Sound Of Philadelphia” catapulting Philadelphia International Records into worldwide fame. Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff collaborated on a number of earlier R&B songs, but the pop hits did not arrive until 1966 with the Intruders and Soul Survivors’ We’ll Be United, Together, Cowboys To Girls, and Expressway To Your Heart among others.

They also wrote and produced Atlantic hits for Archie Bell & the Drells and Wilson Pickett. But most of all, they were instrumental in reviving the career of ex-VeeJay singer, Jerry Butler in 1967 with hits like Only The Strong Survive, What’s The Use Of Breaking Up and Hey Western Union Man on the Mercury record label. In 1969, the Neptune label was founded and distributed through Chess Records. Although Neptune released only four albums, it marked the starting point for Gamble and Huff’s collaboration. Upon a recommendation by the Intruders, they brought in the O’Jays and Thom Bell to join the label as an arranger, writer, producer and musician.

By 1971, Chess Records’ involvement with Soul Music declined, so Gamble and Huff signed a national distribution, music catalog and financial deal with CBS Records then changed the company name to Philadelphia International Records. Though no longer an independent record label, with distribution and financial issues behind them, their label was free to go in the positive message artistic directions it desired. What elements lead to the creation of their musical signature?

Gamble and Huff learned that a successful record label needed a strong cache of writers, musicians, arrangers and producers to maintain a stream of hits. They had the brilliance and luck to hire Gene McFadden and John Whitehead as associate producers and arrangers. Linda Creed joined Thom Bell to form a high-impact Soul Music writing, arranging and producing tandem at the company. Next, Gamble and Huff constructed a house band from accomplished session artists.

In keeping with their mission statement to deliver positive messages, they called their session band, Mother Father Sister Brother (MFSB) comprised of Roland Chambers and Norman Harris (guitars), Vince Montana (vibes), Ronnie Baker (bass) and Earl Young (drums). With such hits from:

The O’Jays with Back Stabbers, Love Train, and For the Love of Money. They recorded the Jacksons, Jerry Butler, and other prominent acts on the label: Billy Paul (Me and Mrs Jones) and Harold Melvin And The Blue Notes (If You Don’t Know Me By Now and The Love I Lost), Blue Magic, Teddy Pendergrass, Jean Carn, Lou Rawls, The Spinners (Could it Be That I’m Falling in Love), Stylistics (Betcha by Golly, Wow), The Hustle by Van McCoy. The Three Degrees, and Delfonics (Didn’t I Blow Your Mind This Time), Patti LaBelle’s release of I’m In Love Again that reached gold sales status. They were hugely validated when Don Cornelius, producer and host of Soul Train asked the Three Degrees to do vocals for the show’s new theme track, with instrumentals by MFSB.

Gamble and Huff puzzled together dance rhythms, orchestral arrangements, and positive topical lyrics that established a musical signature having sophisticated soulful orchestration. Philadelphia International Records became a force in the Soul Music market and even drew praise from its rivals. With all the ingredients in place – the rest is history. Thank you guys! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…



I came across this article written by Ricardo A. Hazell is a veteran journalist whose writings has been featured in a number of prominent newspapers and magazines. It is a rather lengthy article, so I will repost excerpts and add a link at the end for you to follow to read the entire article. I found this article to be excellent and on point, which is why I am sharing it.

This picture is an actual photo of two Chicago Police Officers posing with a suspect! 



So many American men of African descent live in a soul-splitting world of conflicting existences. As Americans were are taught that we have inalienable rights; but as a Black men, we know that is a half-truth at best.

For me, at no time has that duality been more apparent amid the American-based African Diaspora than in the years since the murder of Trayvon Martin in 2012. The affair brought to the surface all that is racist and reprehensible about American society for all who gazed upon it. The aggressor was made to be the victim and the victim was said to have been implicit in his or her own death.

From Trayvon Martin to Eric Garner to Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott and Freddie Gray, America tells us they caused their own death, and a significant portion of the African American populous believes America and that it is correct in their conclusions.

What about the Black people who are in constant agreement with suspected racists, conservatives and tea party members whenever the police “accidentally” shoot a suspect for whatever reason they and the state attorney can agree sounds plausible enough to slip by a jury? Claiming that Rekia Boyd and Aiyana Stanley-Jones were anomalies, and that John Crawford and Darrien Hunt, both whom were shot while carrying toy facsimiles of a rifle and samurai sword, respectively, were somehow in the wrong.

These Drop Squad candidates will say that we must align ourselves with the police to protect ourselves from the hordes within our own community. They make concessions for those that shoot, beat and torture Black men and rape, assault and murder Black women by saying it’s a tough job and that these are anomalies rather than by design.

According to a graph created by ABCNews.com, 40 percent of all homicides committed in the United States between 2009 and 2011 were gang related. That number sounds awfully high to me but, admittedly, I am biased. With the way race based policing methods terrorize the inner city, it is my strong suspicion that a number of those alleged gang-related murders were actually conducted by the police. The city of Chicago is notorious for the rampant race based brutality and misconduct within its police department.

With knowledge of the racism that proliferates the history of civilian policing in the United States since its advent, my conscience could come to no other conclusion. And that’s only considering cops who are being racists, not to mention the officers who use the badge to disguise the deeds they commit that aren’t purposefully being racist but rather money and power motivated.

Officers like Detroit’s William “Robocop” Melendez, who is alleged to have been the leader of a crew of 17 officers who planted drugs, made false accusations against innocent individuals and terrorized the communities under their watch. He beat the charges despite significant evidence to the contrary. He has not been convicted of any charges and still works in law enforcement in Motown to this very day.

Then there’s the case of former NYPD Detective Stephen Anderson, who in 2011 testified in a massive corruption investigation that he and at least eight other officers engaged in planting evidence on innocent people to maintain arrest quotas in Brooklyn and Queens.

When asked by New York City Justice Gustin Reichbach whether he had witnessed others conducting shady business, Anderson replied:

“Yes, multiple times. It was something I was seeing a lot of, whether it was from supervisors or undercovers and even investigators,” he said.

“It’s almost like you have no emotion with it, that they attach the bodies to it, they’re going to be out of jail tomorrow anyway; nothing is going to happen to them anyway.”

Whether the police are being racist or just plain criminal, their actions still help propagate the White supremacist charter in one way or another.

In 2006, the Federal Bureau of Investigations released a report on how white supremacists and Neo Nazis had been infiltrating police departments across the nation and carrying out their ideologies in the line of duty and under the guise of law enforcement.

It was found that the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department had been infiltrated by Neo Nazis and engaged in a campaign of terror in Black communities across L.A. County. Former Chicago Police Department Detective Jon Burge was fired after it was revealed he had ties to the Klu Klux Klan and that he had tortured more than 100 Black male suspects in the line of duty.

Recent findings by the Department of Justice and Secretary General Eric Holder suggest that racism is the way things are done in police departments across the country, and have been for decades if not longer.

New Orleans, LA. Ferguson, Missouri. Philadelphia, PA and now the Cleveland (OH) Police Department have drawn the ire of these scathing reports. Racist, ineffective, irreparably damaged with a tendency to be heavy handed whenever coming into contact with Black folks, but there are still those of blue-black hue who would deem the gestapo police methods of many inner city police departments as being necessary to curb the tide of the alleged savages.

Please follow this link to read the entire article:


Article written by Ricardo A. Hazell


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