29 years ago on this day, May 13, 1985, the U.S. dropped a bomb on the members of MOVE in Philadelphia killing 11 people, including 5 children.
The MOVE organization was a Philly based black liberation movement that was adamant about revolution & advocated a ‘back to nature’ lifestyle. The MOVE organization lived communally, frequently engaged in public demonstrations & vowed to lead lives uninterrupted by government, police or technology. MOVE was founded by John Africa & its members also adopted the surname ‘Africa’, vegan diets & were passionate about animal rights.
Since MOVE’s inception, they were seen as a threat to the Philly Police Department & in 1978, police raided their Powelton Village home. The raid resulted in the death of 1 police officer and the beating and arrest of 9 MOVE members. Afterwards, they relocated to the infamous house on 6221 Osage St.
On May 13, 1985, more than 500 police officers surrounded MOVE’s fortified house in West Philly, to serve arrest warrants on its members. After a gun battle during which the police failed to dislodge the group, a police helicopter was dispatched over the MOVE house and dropped 2 bombs. The Philly Fire Dept delayed putting out the flames at MOVE’s house stating that they, “didnt want to put their men in harms way”. The explosion from the bombs started a fire that destroyed MOVE’s house & 60 other houses, leaving 250 people homeless. 11 MOVE members, including 5 of their children were killed. Only Michael and Ramona Africa, an adult in the group, survived.
Names & ages of the 5 MOVE kids killed by Philly police in the 1985 bombing:
Tomasa - 7
Delicia - 9
Phil - 10
Netta - 11
Tree - 13
To learn more about the 1985 MOVE bombing in Philly, read PBS’ article, here: to.pbs.org/1jDZ7s3