The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

MOVE Members Freed

Feb 17, 2020

Delbert Africa and Chuck Africa were finally released on parole in January and February after being imprisoned by Pennsylvania officials for 42 years. They are leaders of the black liberation MOVE Organization in Philadelphia. They and seven other men and women were charged as a unit with third degree murder for the shooting death of a Philadelphia cop during a raid by hundreds of police on MOVE’s communal house in 1978.

Former cop Frank Rizzo made his name attacking MOVE as police commissioner and then as mayor. In 1976 Rizzo’s cops knocked a baby from the arms of a MOVE member, crushing the baby’s skull.

The attacks on MOVE went on after his administration. Under another mayor in 1985 cops firebombed MOVE’s home, killing 11 MOVE members. A succession of officials kept Delbert Africa and the others in prison: six governors, 10 state prosecutors, six mayors, and six elected city prosecutors. Only in 2018 did the state parole board begin releasing them. Those arrested and held included journalist, MOVE member, and former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal, who remains in prison today on a frame-up.

After his release Delbert Africa said, “We’ve suffered the worst that this system can throw at us—decades of imprisonment, loss of loved ones. So we know we are strong. For all of that, we are still here and I look on that with pride.”