In our last article, I noted the dearth of knowledge about Black History, especially by the young.
For those who've lived through certain periods of Black life, they know what they know, even if only filtered through the lens of a media that is the handmaiden of white power.
A generation of so later, and these events fall down the rabbit hole of forgetfulness, and are soon gone.
It’s not taught in school, so new generations grow into adulthood virtually ignorant of that past of conflict and struggle.
The original MOVE confrontation, which flared during 1977 and 1978 in Philadelphia, involving weapons fire, water cannons, wrecking cranes and vicious beatings, also resulted in the imprisonment of 9 men and women from MOVE, called the MOVE 9.
That was 36 years ago.
Jimmy Carter was president. Muhammad Ali had both lost (to Leon Spinks) and regained his heavyweight championship belt.
And the MOVE 9 were sentenced to 30-to-100 years for 3rd degree murder –exceeding every other such sentence in modern Pennsylvania history.
Most who have examined this case noted that although none of the women had weapons charges, all of them received the same sentence as the men.
But guess what? All of the men didn’t receive weapons charges!
Born and raised in West Philadelphia, he lived life like most young guys his age. He partied, and he got high.
But meeting MOVE changed all that. The message of MOVE entered him radicalized him and made him part of a movement greater than himself.
According to eyewitness accounts, a cop at the scene in ’78 was killed by cop gunfire, but that didn’t matter.
MOVE – loud, Black and strong – had to be stopped, and Judge Edwin Malmud was the mechanism used to do so.
So, Eddie Africa (still loud, Black and strong), was convicted of murder – even though never convicted of having a gun, and is now being refused parole despite being 6 years over his minimum.
He was 29 when he came to prison.
He’s now 65.
Because he’s a MOVE member, innocence is irrelevant.
(Nor is this relevant for the other 7 MOVE survivors.)
Neither he nor they are in prison because of either innocence or guilt: they are in prison because they believe in the Teachings of John Africa: they’re MOVE members.