Monday, February 16, 2015

Maiga on Phil part one


When I first met Phil, I was preparing myself to really hate men.

Like many women, I'd been hurt in a variety of ways by men. To cope with the hurt, I was shutting down and becoming less available. There were a few relationships in my life that helped me figure out different ways to be self-protective but to not shut off from safe and healthy intimacy. Obviously, marrying Kevin was fundamental. In a different way, becoming close to Phil taught me how to recognize and cultivate nourishing friendships.

On the surface, Phil and I should not have been able to relate to one another. I'm now 33 but at first meeting I was probably 22. I'm white from the 'burbs. Phil is a Black man who grew up poor in Philly. He was incarcerated for the duration of the time we knew one another.

And Phil got where I was coming from. Hell, he was suspicious of most men too! If anything, he taught me how to be more cautious, conscious, and aware. He was clear and instructive in offering me ways to keep myself safe. He always told me to value myself, respect myself, and listen to my intuition. 

As he gave me these tools to feel empowered and secure, his example showed me a man who was warm, familiar, and respectful. He treated me like was a close niece. He gave me advice, listened, and offered warm shelter. He was playful and messed with me when I was too serious. He called me to check up on me. He kept me busy when he saw that my mind was obsessing. He painted pictures and drew sketches for me. He gave me attention. He gave me aspects of himself and his experience. He urged me to be close to my husband, Kevin, and told me how much he cherished his wife, Janine. He constantly reminded me to be available to growing in love. He told me to engage love like we would exercise-- to let ourselves get stronger in the practice. To be changed by it.

Maiga on Phil part two

We had several art shows of his work. The above photo is from last August, when we had a unique exhibit. People emailed a copy of one of Phil's pieces. I blew it up and displayed on the walls. Each contributor also wrote about where they displayed the piece, what it meant to them, and it's reach. Some had taken the art pieces on tour in Venezuela, Cuba, and Mexico. Others had shared it in community spaces throughout the US. The reach was profound.

Folks came in off the street and learned more about Phil. They learned that despite being incarcerated for the last 35 years of his life that he never stopped living. He never let his circumstances limit him. He stayed close to his wife. He developed friendships with people like me. He inspired and connected with numerous people all over the globe. He kept us close to him and we cherished the link.

One time, I saw a bear while I drove up to visit him. When I was going through a particularly rough patch, Phil drew a card (that I later framed. It's still on my living room wall) that he and his brother, Del, signed. They said, "Your Grizzlies have got you." And they are my grizzlies. They're warm, fierce, grizzled men. They taught me that there are beautiful men out there that I can cherish, trust, and grow with.

In Phil's honor, Kevin and I had grizzlies tattooed on our arms.

Before Thanksgiving, our beloved, nearly 20-year-old cat, Laz passed. I knew it was coming and wrote Phil before hand. He replied to me, "Don't dwell over it. When it happens, it'll happen, and you'll just have to be ready to be strong and deal with it. Don't get your mind set to fall apart. Be prepared to deal with reality. I'm not trying to tell you it's going to be easy, just that it's going to be and not to plan on falling apart. Just know you get to be strong and keep on moving. With you, all I see is you still hold onto things that happen to you, which is not good. It will make you feel like things are piling up on you, when what is really happening is that you're not letting things to go like you should. You've got to deal with stuff and then move on by letting the past go. The India trip will keep you motivated and take some pressure off you. Being happy

Maiga on Phil part three

His words helped me navigate Laz's transition. When Laz passed, I wrote Phil to tell him. On 12/2/14, he wrote me a reply, the last letter I received from him. He wrote, "We have been trained to see Life moving on in a cycle as a sad thing. When you look at the old cultures, those with religions more Earth/Nature based, you see how they celebrated the cycle of life. I'm glad y'all had family around to help y'all so that y'all were able to help move Laz along in the cycle without any suffering. That was the most important thing. No one or nothing stays on this level forever, that would go *against* Life's cycle. It would throw things *out* of balance. I know Laz is glad that he had y'all to be there for him when his time to move on came. You have to work to never feel like you're 'without'."

And once more, Phil offers me exactly the advice I need to move through transition. He provides the sage counsel to now mourn his transition, understanding that he too is Life. He too still is, but not in the form I've come to know and love. I hold his words close, his memory close, and cherish his presence in my life. I'm grateful to have known him and to know that he is at peace. I'm still fighting for freedom. I'm still moving. I'm still loving.

We love you, Phil.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Reflections On The Full And Dynamic Life Of Phil Africa

“Ona MOVE Kevin!
Hey Now Bro! I got your letter and wanted to write right back so you’d know it was good to hear from ya. Always good to hear from those you are active in the work needed to right the things this rotten system has caused to be wrong. To make a righteous change in this world one must be willing to work for it and to stand up against all that is wrong.”
Those lines began the first letter I received from MOVE 9 political prisoner, Phil Africa. I was 16 and his letter of encouragement kept me motivated for weeks. Phil had that effect on people. I continued to write and visit with him over the years, unfortunately less so the past few years. I was as shocked as everyone else when I heard that he passed away on Saturday. To say that it didn’t seem like it should be his time is an understatement. If you’ve had the privilege to spend time with Phil you know that to think of his high energy level slowing down is like thinking about the sun going out. Though he has spent the last 36 years in prison, eating prison food, spending time in solitary confinement, and experienced the abhorrent conditions that come from a life imprisoned, Phil was vibrant, his skin glowed, he talked a mile a minute and he was excited to be alive.
Writing about Phil is frustrating because he’s a hard person to describe. I only knew him through visits and letters, but I really feel that I got to know him. I wish more people had had that opportunity. Phil’s hard to describe because he embodied forces that we usually think of as contradictory. He was big, strong as hell, very protective, and I’m sure he’d be damned intimidating if the situation required it. He was MOVE’s First Minister of Defense for a reason. However, he was bursting with love, humor, and positive energy in a way that was physically palpable as soon as you came near him. He had a calm, clear thinking, collected vibe that relaxed those around him.
Phil was like a metronome, a very fast metronome. His steady pace and consistent energy level gave me something to measure myself against. He wrote letters with whoever wrote him – hundreds of people. If you sent Phil a letter you’d usually have at least one or two typed (hopefully, otherwise good luck with his handwriting!) pages back within a week. There were many times when he wrote to me twice before I responded to the first letter. I’m incredibly thankful to have a binder of his letters on my shelf. I’ll be reflecting on them for years to come. In letters and in person Phil was always moving things forward. If you wrote him about a problem he’d offer pragmatic advice to proceed and didn’t humor weakness if you were stubborn to move on. This discipline was coupled with an incredible sensitivity and concern.
I’m lucky to have so many fond memories of Phil. It helps that he had a lot of unforgettable habits that will help aid in keeping the memories clear. As soon as we’d arrive in the prison visiting room, after we had hugged, he step back and thoroughly examine me. He’d squeeze my bicep and nod encouragingly or tip his head to the side humorously if he thought I hadn’t been exercising. He’d look closely at my face and say “You alright man?” After we’d stocked up on food from the prison machines he’d sit across the table, give a knowing look, tilt his head back and smile in the most distinctive way, almost like he was observing the whole thing from the future, like he already knew what you were going to say and he was quite entertained by it.
The past few days it’s been tough telling people about Phil who didn’t know him. I’ve been glad to be able to share my experiences, but there’s just no translating them. I think for many folks it’s hard to get past the label “prisoner.” That word becomes the primary identifying factor. I understand that. Without the privileges I’ve had to get to know so many people who happen to be imprisoned I think I would have the same stumbling block. If I was making a list of a hundred things Phil was though, prisoner wouldn’t make the top 100. He never allowed himself to be imprisoned. He didn’t put his life on hold after he was sentenced, he continued right along in the work of his life. He put in long days, typing deep into the night. He kept a strict exercise regimen, called into radio shows, mentored other inmates, and learned to paint. He wrote until typewriters broke and he painted until there were no more supplies. He became a damned good painter. And if you were on a visit or on the phone, he talked. He talked very quickly and very intentionally. The number of words that went into a 15 minute call with Phil would fill up an hour of normal conversation. He was passionate and he was excited. And that is why it is so damned hard to believe that the last letter that I got from him is the last I will get from him. His words and actions will continue reverberating on and on into the future though. As I type these words now the waves of his life are still moving through mine and the

The Endless incarceration Of The Move 9

They were convicted to 30 to 100 years in prison for murder in the 3rd degree, the members of the „MOVE 9“: the 4 women Debbie, Janine, Janet, and Merle Africa, and the 5 men Delbert, Phil, Mike, Chuck, and Edward Africa. In 1998, Merle Africa died in custody, and it is only in January 2015 that one of the men, Phil Africa, also succumbed to the conditions in prison.

What horrific crime are these people accused of, such that every single survivor by now has had to spent almost double the time in prison that Nazi criminal Albert Speer had to and more time than most mass murderers in Europe?

The MOVE organization emerged in 1972 in Philadelphia under the spiritual leadership of John Africa, who, like the other members, changed his name and adopted the surname “Africa” in order to distance himself from his former “slave name” and to point to the origin of humanity in Africa.

MOVE (the name is no abbreviation, but simply means “movement”) was given to a sort of “back-to-nature” ideology, but apart from that, it was a decidedly anti-authoritarian and anti-capitalist group, which by this very nature was a thorn in the side of the authorities. Their protests, particularly against the abuse of animals, but also against all sorts of dignitaries of politics led to countless arrests and prosecutions, and by the mid-1970s, MOVE had become “enemy of the state no. 1” in Philadelphia.

Politics and media descended into a virtual smear campaign against the movement, even though there were hardly any concrete accusations against it. The police acted with particular sadism. Between 1974 and 1976, four female MOVE members suffered miscarriages following violent abuse by the police. In March 1974, the newly-born baby Life Africa died from scull injuries inflicted by police nightsticks.

One of the few journalist to give a voice to MOVE members themselves in his reports was a radio reporter who by now in no longer an unknown quantity, namely, Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Towards the end of the 1970s, the background just sketched led to total confrontation. In March 1978, the city administration instigated a two-month siege against the “head quarter” of MOVE to “smoke them out,” which could be ended only by the rallying around MOVE by their neighbors, who decisively took the side of MOVE despite often harsh critic of the organizations perceived “backward” and “unhygienic” lifestyle.

At the beginning of August, Mayor Rizzo posed an ultimatum to MOVE to either immediately leave the house or to be evicted. After the uncompromising rejection by MOVE the house was violently stormed in the morning of August 8, 1978. More than 600 cops surrounded the house, and both a crane and a bulldozer were used as battering rams, which forced those in the house including their children to seek refuge in the basement.

In the basement, they all were soon in danger of drowning, since the Fire Department soon flooded their refuge with water from high pressure hoses, forcing the beleaguered to do what they could to keep the children and pets above the water which by then reached to the basement windows. Thereafter, there was a two-minute fusillade of shots which wounded MOVE members, firefighters, cops, and passers-by, and that killed Police Officer James Ramp.

The people under siege were soon forced to leave the basement. After brutal maltreatment, they were arrested, and later on, they were accused of multiple accounts of physical assault and the murder of James Ramp. The trial was the longest and most costly in the history of Philadelphia and was no less unfair than the one against Mumia Abu-Jamal one year later. Two statements should be sufficient to characterize it.

Thus, immediately after the events Mayor Frank Rizzo fulminated: “The only way we're going to end them is--get that death penalty back in, put them in the electric chair and I'll pull the switch.” With that, a fair trial in Philadelphia was practically no longer in the cards.

Quite fittingly, the trial judge excluded all evidence pushed by the defense and ruled in all the material brought by the prosecution. Testimony saying that MOVE didn’t begin the shooting or hints that the MOVE members locked in the basement had hardly been able to fire any shots at all, he confidently ignored, only to find ALL of the MOVE members guilty in the end and to subject them to the draconian sentence already mentioned.

Asked, how nine people could shoot and kill one man, he responded: “They were tried as a family, so I convicted them as a family” – a breathtaking proposition coming from a judge, and, in principle, a sure reason for overturning the trial result.

But neither this nor the fact that there has long been testimony saying that the shot that killed James Ramp had been accidental “friendly fire” is enough to bring Philadelphia’s criminal justice system to its senses. There seems to be no chance for a new trial for the MOVE 9. And not even for a release after the minimum sentence of 30 years already reached in 2008. The Kafkaesque official reason: The accused would first have to confess their guilt – even though at most one of them killed Ramp, and most likely none of them did.

As in the case of Mumia, the motive seems to be revenge on the part of the representatives of the status quo, and if they have their way, after Merle and Phil Africa, the remaining “MOVE 7” will also die in prison. The only hope for them lies in making this absurd miscarriage of justice more widely known, generating the outrage that it should automatically spark. The movement for the freedom of Mumia Abu-Jamal considers this as one of its most important tasks for the future.

Michael Schiffmann

February 2015

The German original version of this article will appear in the 2015 issue of the annual special supplement for the “March 18 - International Day of the Political Prisoner,” of the quarterlyRote Hilfe, published by the German prisoner support organization Red Aid,

Friday, February 13, 2015

Eddie Africa on the life of Phil Africa

Opening Quote From Strategic Revolution

Quote JOHN  AFRICA Move is STRONG  WILLED , CLEAR VISIONED , ONE MINDED true in dedication , Move don't STAGGER , WAIVER, STUMBLE or FALL SHORT  with THE MOVE ORG . A step FORWARD is s step GAINED and a step LOST for the SYSTEM . Because  The Move Organization will not take a step backward, our aim is Revolution, our trust is MOMMA , our DRIVE is CONSISTENCY , our TARGET  THIS SYSTEM  and we will NOT BE STOPPED for we have the COURAGE OF LIFE ,THE UNDERSTANDING  of TRUE LAW and THE POWER OF GOD IN BOTH FISTS .



I am at mahanoy prison now and Phil's friends here are many , they give me their thoughts of sorrow about Phil and I understand , I will miss my brother but I still feel his presence next to me. I can look at UJU , his son and see Phil , I can look at Neen and see Phil  Delbert, Janet Debbie, Mike, Mona , Carlos, Ria , Bert, Zack, Mary, Mo, Theresa , Chad,  Maria , All MOVE Children. Gary , Maiga , Kevin, Fred, Abdul , Mumia , Orie all our friends and supporters as Phil was taught to revere family life wherever whoever it was without prejudicial categorization Phil's example is a good one .  I remember some of our talks about love and marriage and he would talk of neen with a smile on his face and a clear bond of love in his eyes as he thought about her , he is a good example of a loving husband , he is not perfect but he strived for it as we all do, his friends are many , prisoners and staff , they gravitated to him, some of them not understanding why as the stories told about us were supposed to turn folks against us but the lies that are told don't match MOVE'S behavior how we really are in person.

Eddie and Phil AFRICA were at CAMP HILL together for years and go back forty years together .

On The Move

My brother Phil Africa is a good man , a father, husband , brother , a good solider . I sit here thinking of him and I'm smiling , I can hear his voice , see his laugh ,and it touches me in a good way , The memories of our brother are countless and I think of them a lot even before he moved on to Momma's  cycle , at times I would lean on him to get past some particular problem he would give me MOVE LAW to make me strong and a smile to show his love . We spent a lot of time and instead of feeling down about him I will use his life to strengthen mine I think of our family and friends and I know we will be alright . I love you Phil now and forever as the bond of family is on going


Quote This system can never break the family that generate in Move People they can only stretch it, for however faint the connection until the connection is broken . We are  still connected and because it is impossible to break the connection of Move People they can say they have broken The MOVE FAMILY 'S connection but  that is like sayin that the earth's connection to the sun is broken just because you see it as cloudy .  End Quote





Your Brother For Life

Eddie Africa

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Rest In Peace , Phil Africa

By  Raoul Duke III

The celebration of life normally only comes in death .

For it is when we face the passing of a loved one, an iconic figure or a friend that we truly see the merits of their life.

Such was the case when members and supporters of The Move organization joined together in the small confines of The kingsessing recreation center at the corner of 50th and Kingsessing avenue in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania to celebrate the life of Phil Africa on Saturday , January 31.

To those in attendance , Phil Africa was a brother , a revolutionary , an artist and an example of how to survive the system from inside the belly of the beast . Phil Africa was a loving husband ,a father figure . His life was guided by the words of JOHN AFRICA and the knowledge that all life is sacred.

It is this belief that Phil Africa held onto, the words of JOHN AFRICA and the system's hatred of those words , that made his last 38 years on earth a pure hell. Phil Africa sat in a small , cold cage for those years He refused to denounce The MOVE Organization , he refused to abandon THE TEACHINGS OF JOHN AFRICA and he professed his and his brothers and sisters innocence to the crime that locked nine MOVE Members away from society back in 1978.. For 19 of those years ,Phil Africa suffered through living in solitary confinement .

One of The Move 9, Phil Africa was one of nine MOVE Members convicted for the fatal shooting of police officer James ramp in a law enforcement siege on the powelton village MOVE headquarters in west Philadelphia and sentenced to 30-100 years a piece .

Despite theories that Ramp's death actually occurred from friendly fire during the excessive show of force by the Philadelphia police on MOVE Headquaters , all nine members of MOVE who were inside of Headquaters during the siege were charged with Ramp's murder .

The judge who sentenced each of the MOVE Members when asked who shot officer James Ramp replied , I haven't the slightest clue.

Hardly a reassuring rationale for sending nine people to prison for 30-100 years .

However , Phil Africa would not let the system bring him down not let the system bring him down nor allow them to tarnish The Teachings Of JOHN AFRICA in prison . In prison , Phil Africa started to express his revolutionary ideas through art . He spent countless hours painting , sketching ,and capturing powerful ideologies through his art is tic  talents with the world as his audience . The work he produced displayed a rawness, a  power and a fortitude that showcased the flaws of the American system .

His art also reflected the simple beauty of life.

Two years ago , I joined members and supporters of a Move in remembrance of the six children and five adults who were slaughtered when local, state, and federal government and law enforcement agencies worked in collusion to drop a bomb on MOVE headquarters on Osage ave on May 13th 1985. During The event the event , I had the opportunity to see Phil Africa's artwork first hand.

Now , years later, I look at those paintings and rough sketches that I bought and see the same beauty ,the same peace . When I heard of Phil's passing I looked again to his art . Phil Africa deserved better in this life , he deserve a fair shake , he deserve to be heard and his life defiantly deserved to be celebrated.

So despite not being able to join those who attended his memorial in Philadelphia , I celebrated Phil Africa's life as well . I allowed his art , his message  and his spirit to push me in a better direction , to keep me looking for the truth and to love everyone and everything .

Although there will be no mention of Phil Africa in the mainstream media at least none positive , the underground media will never let his story or the story of The MOVE 9 die.

For Phil, I say you inspired me with your positivity , your perseverance , your messages and your beautiful art. You will be missed , remembered and celebrated .

Rest in peace , Phil

Letter to Delbert Africa on Phil Africa Part two

I'm writing to express my deepest condolences about the loss of Brother Phil . Phil's legacy is one that will not be forgotten . His presence and influence is nothing short of powerful and for us at twin cities save the kids will continue to be modeled. Phil Africa will continue to live in our hearts through his example and benevolence. The loss of Phil Africa resonates throughout our community and our warmest sympathies as well as our gratitude for work you all do is with you.

In solidarity

Peace and Power


Letter to Delbert Africa on Phil Africa

Hello, Delbert Africa

I am sad to hear about our loss and your loss of Phil Africa . He was so amazing and looked up to by so many including you and all of MOVE. I grew up in philly and supported you since the 1980's . I am at an event to remember Phil Africa with a number of people who are writing all The MOVE Family and Phil's wife . We will also do a candlelight vigil after we write letters . He will be greatly missed . It is actually a beautiful day here in Minneapolis and I think the earth is giving us a good day for this event .i know how much you and he love the earth and animals.

With Care !

Anthony Nocella

St. Paul, Mn 55104

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

French Collective On Phil Africa

Our thoughts are with you to salute Phil's memory and his courageous fight please pass this massive to The Move Family and Phil's many friends . Your pains especially that of his wife, Janine is also ours.

In Solidarity and Friendship

Claude and Jacky

Inmates who were at SCI Dallas with Phil and Delbert Africa

To The  Family Of Phil Africa

Truly he was a man that was well loved by me and all those he touched

Bro Red

Brother Delbert and The Move Family

Thank you for standing firm upon true righteousness a true solider is gone but his spirit will never die and will never be forgotten

In Solidarity Gabe

Juan Gonzalez - worked in prison infirmary , was holding on to Phil as he moved on.

Brother  Delbert and Family

May God give you the strength to continue on this struggle not only was Phil a mentor to me but my Brother . I will never forget what he taught me not only from my connection but by his actions . Phil will be missed but never forgotten .

Reflections of Phil Africa

Mr Del ,

I am terribly sorry about the loss of Phil . What a man he was . Extroardinary . I remember when I was drawing his portrait a fly kept landing on his forehead. It didn't even bother him. I said Phil , if you want to move so you could swat that fly feel free . He said the fly's our brother too. It was something  I'll never forget.

I hope that you are finding comfort in the good people and support around you . The guys I've talked to said that you are doing your best staying positive and on the move. That Made me happy .

We'll talk soon . In the meantime , I'm sending some copies of Phil for you to disburse as you feel adequate so people can have a pic in memory . It's all I could think of doing . If their is anything else I could do please let me know

Your friend


This one of the many brothers that served time with Phil at SCI Dallas

Chris and Bea Zimmerman on Phil Africa

Dearest Sister Ramona , Dear Move Family

Our hearts go out to you in this time of mourning the death of a man who was a brother in the truest sense of the word-that is, not only in the sense of shared genes, but a man whose love encompassed a larger , and even larger community.

The great Russian thinker Dostoyevsky once said that a society can be judged by the way it treats it's prisoners . Need anyone say more about the United States of America ?

On a more hopeful note, let us remember the words of Eugene Debs, an old fighter for freedom who made the following observation .

Years ago I recognized my kinship with all living human beings , and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest person on earth. I said then,  and I say now , that while there is a lower class , I am in it  while there is a criminal element , I am of it and while there is a soul in prison , I Am Not Free.

We know that Phil was not mean nor was he a criminal element in any way , shape or form . But he he was indeed a soul in prison- a beautiful soul who never gave up .

True ,he is finally free -but his death behind bars is still shameful , and it ought to mobilize us, if only to renew our own personal pledges to take up the torch in the universal struggle for Justice .Wherever we are ,and what ever  the circumstances , there is more than enough work to do.

Wishing you all the inspiration and courage to keep fighting the fight , we greet you with the old battle cry, Ona Move

Your Brother and Sister Chris and Bea Zimmerman

P.s. We've been working  at a Bruderhof in Germany since 2010 . That's why we can't be with you today. But our hearts are with you . Were still on the same bench, fighting against racism , injustice, etc . For love , brotherhood , sisterhood , peace and freedom. Believe us - there's plenty of scope over here in Europe ! All our love to anyone who remembers us.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Memories of Phil Africa

Ona Move !!

There's  a  photo of Phil , Chuck, and me that was taken around 1993 . I love that photo and remember the scene like it was yesterday .

That was at a state boxing tournament at huntingdon , where  I was being held at the time . Chuck was coming in from Pittsburg for a fight, Phil was coming in from rockview as a trainer , and I ran the sound system at huntingdon which meant I would be in the auditorium when they first arrived. None of us had seen each for 13 years at this point . So when they both finally came in and we all saw each other we all hugged. We were just standing there in three man bundle just hugging and laughing , and both Phil and Chuck had tears streaming down their faces . Everybody was looking at us but nobody ever interfered or intruded . They could  all see how close and happy we all were to be seeing each other . I was  so happy to see my brothers again .to me it seemed we hadn't seen each other in 1000 years rather than 13 .

The thing is though , I also remember a very similar scene back at headquarters in 1975 where Phil and other Move folks had just been released . , Through  The Strategy Of JOHN AFRICA , Afrter  a demonstration and contempt of court charges. Phil's face looked the same as I described of huntingdon after not seeing us for those 13 years . Only in this case , he had only been separated from his family for maybe a month or so .

See with Phil , The length of time nor the particular people wasn't the ruling factor as it would have been for most folks . Phil just genuinely loved and missed his Move Family . Loved and missed everything connected to our family , and really really loved The Coordnator for giving it to him. But just as quick as he was with his smile, tears of happiness at being with the family ,anybody that has ever encountered him knows that he is even quicker to defend anyone even remotely connected to Move., John Africa , with every ounce of his being. Phil is the true epitome of a Move Solider.

The epitome of A Move Brother Someone dedicated to  the work of life .
His example will always be with us , with the very best of all of us
Long Live Our Family . We are all one with Moma .


Mike Africa

Monday, February 9, 2015

My Tribute To Phil Africa

Phil taught me various political and survival skills and  strategies that enabled me to overcome the anguish and wretchedness of incarceration and onward to the passageway to become a self empowered , self determined life long learner and  teacher . He inspired me to reach for greater truths and understanding , and never give up regardless of the odds against me.

I along with many prisoners and organizations relied on his wisdom and understanding and inspiration . He embodied the courage of every noble warrior . I am profoundly privileged and honered to have met him and be one of his many students and friends .

Respectfully ,


More Statements On Phil Africa


In Perpetual Motion , Always Moving , Always Progressing Never Dying HE LIVES ON !


I celebrate My Brother Phil's life in the struggle , He will always be in my heart and mind and infinitely  ONA MOVE !

Bro Tariq

There are no words that I can express except empty for the loss of my old head and  Brother
Long Live Phil Africa

On The Move Forever

Love Rob Ruffin

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Denver ABCF On Phil Africa

This letter was written for Phil's Wife Janine Africa From Brother Illy From The Denver ABCF

Janine Phillips Africa #OO-6309
SCI Cambridge Springs 451 Fullerton Ave Cambridge Springs, PA 16403-1238

Dear Janine,
Illy Voxi
Denver ABC
P.O. Box 11236 Denver, CO 80211

Words cannot explain the hurt, the pain, and the anger that has overwhelmingly crushed me. Phil's death is some of the worst pain I've felt. I'm so fortunate that I was able to visit with him one time, just a matter of days before. At least there is that, I can go on knowing I got to see his fearless smile just one more time. Phil was one of my most active correspondents, and wonderful friend. While he was constantly busy responding to each and every letter he received, he still prioritized my letters over others to keep our communication close. I love Phil Africa so much, and now that I won't be receiving letters from him, life feels much more empty.
I spent the first half of the next day, shedding more tears then I have in years. I drove my van to the store to buy a pack of cigarettes. Before I entered the store I though to my self 'Phil wouldn't want me smoking right now, he would want me to be strong'. I then decided it must be Phil talking to me, as he is now part of life that flows free in the wind. I literally could feel myself breathing in some Phil as I obtained my breaths. I also wanted to just sit at home and mourn, but the element of Phil, once again encouraged me to hold my head up and move forward as strong as ever. So instead of staying home, I carried out the day with one of Denver ABC's most productive meetings. I know Phil wants for this situation to empower me and fuel my revolution more. Therefor, that's exactly what I'm allowing this hurt to do. I'm so lucky to have had such a strong, radical, and loving person to constantly give me wisdom and inspiration. When I was feeling down, a letter from Phil always brought me right back to focus. Now he's not here in person to coach me, but with his spirit in the air, I'm feeling a sense of guidance and focus like never before. Still however, I hurt and I miss him.
Janine, I cannot even imagine how much this must hurt for you. One cannot even visualize the torture of being locked in a cage while your husband was dying. To know also that he was murdered by those bloodthirsty drooling crazies that suck the the life and liberation out of humanity, is impaling. I hurt so bad for you right now Janine, but I know my hurt can never compare to yours. You have been through this pain before, with Life Africa and Little Phil, and yet you're still so incredibly strong thanks to John Africa. It's epic, and I work to have such strength one day. Though you're experienced in dealing with such pain, it still must hurt like hell to feel every time it comes. My friend and comrade, I am offering you and your family my absolute deepest condolences for your loss. You have my deepest love, support, and encouragement. Please just let me know of anything you need that I can provide, to help you through these hard times. I've got your back Janine, as do all of us here at Denver ABC.
Fuck the system, fuck the PADOC, fuck the nerve climbing parole board, and fuck the prison medical staff that applied the lethal dose. We will never forget our comrade Phil Africa. We will never forgive those responsible for his death. We will stop at nothing to find out what really happened in that infirmary, and we'll stop at nothing to hold them accountable. My rage is easily 10x what it was before. I'm ready for revolution, and I will give my all into getting you, and the rest of your imprisoned brothers and sisters out. We want you paroled, we want you released, we want you free. Let Phil's death mark the next stages in your campaigns, and empower all of us on the outside to fight harder, faster, stronger then ever before. Until every cage is empty... R.I.P. Phil Africa | Love & Solidarity,
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Mumia Speaks on Phil Africa

[col. writ. 1/10/15] © ’15 Mumia Abu-Jamal

He was born William Phillips, on Jan. 1, 1956, but few people called him by that name.

Most people knew him as Phil, and after joining the revolutionary naturalist MOVE organization in the early 1970s, most called him Phil Africa.

He was part of the confrontation of Aug. 8, 1978, in Philadelphia, where nearly a dozen MOVE members were charged in connection with that conflict, in which a cop likely died from friendly fire – but MOVE members were charged.

Among them, Phil Africa. Phil was among 9 MOVE men and women charged with murder, and convicted in a hotly disputed trial, of third degree murder. So disputed, in fact, that several days after the trial, Judge Edwin Malmed would admit, in a locally broadcast interview, that he ‘Hadn’t the faintest idea’….”the faintest idea” (his very words) …who killed the cop.

The 9 MOVE members were sentenced to 30 to 100 years: the longest in Pennsylvania history since third-degree became law in PA. Judge Malmed reportedly acknowledged the illegality of such a sentence, telling those sentenced that it may be reversed on appeal, but, for now, it would hold them. It appears Malmed believed the State Appellate courts were fairer than even they believed.

But not to people named Africa it seems.

For today, 37 years after the events of August, 1978, the fact that 7 remaining men and women are still in prison is nothing short of a scandal.

The MOVE men and women should’ve been free, at least 7 years ago, when they reached their minimums.

But this is Pennsylvania, where madness passes as normality.

Phil lost a son back in the mid –‘70s, when police trampled his child, Life Africa.

On May 13, 1985, when the police bombed a MOVE home, another son, Little Phil, was among the 11 people shot and burned to death.

Phil was an extremely talented artist and painter. He was a man with a gift of lightness, a witty sense of humor, and an ever-present smile.

Phil Africa, MOVE member, will be long loved and remembered by his wife, Janine Africa, by his brothers and sister in MOVE, and by many, many prisoners across the state, whom he counseled over the years.

Phil lived through 59 cycles of planet earth, before being returned to his Mother.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Statement For Brother Phil Africa's Celebration Of Life

I would like to thank the Move family especially Mona for providing me the opportunity to write a statement on behalf of Brother Phil Africa. I met Phil once during the summer with some of the Move family. Prior to the visit, my knowledge about Phil was through his incredible art, Move documentaries and personal stories by Move members. When I met Phil, he acted as if he known me for years. He smiled and laughed the entire visit. He teased Theresa like brothers tease their sisters. It was hilarious seeing them fight. We talked about jazz and some of his favorite artist which included John Coltrane, Lee Morgan, and Thelonious Monk.
Phil shifted the conversation to the struggle of today and the role of the system. He said, “The system will always test you to see how strong and committed you are.” While listening to Phil, I was thinking about how this revolutionary freedom fighter was stolen from his family and community. And how we will always be at a level of disadvantage with our political prisoners away from us. But this disadvantage has not hindered our struggle!
The gathering today for our dear brother is to celebrate his life and legacy. To honor and salute his courage and commitment to the revolution. But we have to truly honor his legacy and continue the work. The work to FREE the Move 9 and all political prisoners. We will not let the 37 years you spent incarcerated as an innocent man be in vein. The current movement of Black Lives Matter include our political prisoners.
We honor you Phil by speaking truth to power about the Move 9’s innocence. We honor you by supporting Mona when she calls on the community for assistance. We honor you by staying steadfast and not backing down and compromising to this system. We honor you by never letting this city forget about the 78’ confrontation and the 85’ bombing of our brothers and sisters. We honor you by collectively organizing and mobilizing for the 30 – Year Anniversary of the May 13, 1985 bombing
Brother Phil you were an exemplary soldier for the struggle of Black Liberation. We love and honor your life and legacy.
Long live the spirit of revolution!
Long live the spirit of Brother Phil Africa!
Ona Move,
Sister Patrice K. Armstead

Friday, February 6, 2015

Brother Phil

Phil Africa Brother and Friend . Man of vision and hope . His presence and sense of balance affected all of us . Thank you, Phil , for sharing your life with us . We all make choices and Phil chose to live with us . Wow .

Love and Respect Always

Ona Move

Larry Giddings  Seattle , Wa 1/31/15

Political Prisoner Tom Manning On Phil Africa

To The Move Family ,

Thank you for sharing Phil with all of us . He was an outstanding comrade and painter . I am so honored to have a picture of the painting Phil did of me . It is a small island of sanity when I see his name on the painting

Respect and Up The Rebel

Tom Manning  PP

Fmc Butner Nc

4Struggle Magazine on Phil Africa

This is an excerpt written on Phil in 4 Struggle Magazine written by Political Prisoner Jaan Laaman

Some Reflections on Comrades, The Spirit of Resistance, Struggle and Death
by Jaan Laaman - 4sm editor
2015 is almost a month old and my overall outlook has been optimistic and energized. With a months long new movement in the streets, fighting against government repression and police killings of unarmed men, boys and women too, mostly of color, for me it has been a time of gathering information and supporting and contributing to this new movement.
It is within this context, that I just received somber and hard information about two comrades of mine, two very good human beings, steadfast brothers and courageous fighters in the Freedom Struggle. I am talking about two friends of mine, both long held political prisoners -- Phil Africa and Bill Dunne.
William Phillips Africa died on January 10, 2015, in the Pennsylvania state prison system, at SCI Dallas.

Phil Africa was one of the Move 9, all of whom have been in captivity since August 8, 1978. On that day, the Philadelphia police and other government forces launched an unprovoked assault on the Move home. The Move 9 are completely innocent women and men who were thrown into prison for 30 to 100 year sentences. They are all still in prison, except for Merle Africa who died in 1998, and now Phil.
Phil Africa never stopped struggling for justice and freedom, not only for the Move Family and his co-defendants, but for poor and oppressed people of all colors, across this country and around the world. Phil was a good man, intelligent and brave, thoughtful and caring. He could make you laugh and he was self disciplined and worked to stay in shape. He was a father figure, as well as a boxing teacher and sports coach to many younger men.
Phil's death in the Pennsylvania state correctional institution at Dallas, came under very questionable and suspicious circumstances. See a more detailed posting on Phil's death at

My political prisoner brother and friend, Phil Africa, died in that Pennsylvania prison cell in his 37th year of captivity. Phil's hardships and deprivations are now over. Phil was never a man who bemoaned the harsh, inhumane and injust realities he and other prisoners were forced to endure. Dying in prison is always a sad reality. Phil's hardships are now over and that is a good thing, even while we mourn his passing. We should also question the circumstances surrounding his death and demand answers from Pennsylvania prison officials.

For Phil Africa

Your system is made to numb people
Your system is meant to bring evil
Your system of lies and countless deception
Your system of genocide and exploitation
You murdered countless spirited folk
And then you smile and make it a joke
You tell other nations you are coming to save
And when you arrive you prepare their grave
Your system is not for righteousness
You can see it in your very own citizens
Look how they go about their daily lives
Careless, indifferent of the sufferer's cries
You've twisted the priority in people's minds
Now they believe that truths are lies
But to us others with three-fold eyes
Your corrupted system we stigmatize
We see and read between the lines
And educate others with power rhymes
We use our art to touch the lives
WAKE UP MIGHTY PEOPLE, it's time to rise.
Don't you think that you'll get away
With all the lives you've took away
Be prepared, for the time is near
When you kill one, a thousand shall appear
When you thought no one was looking
You thought you could stop MOVE from existing
Today, the whole world knows what you did
No matter what evidence you've tried to rid
Whoever doesn't support your wicked schemes
You call them terrorists, and make the people believe
But a lie cannot stand on its two feet
For the power of Truth is always final.
The end of your reign will strongly be cheered
Empowering the people is your biggest fear
Informing the masses is your worst nightmare
That's why we shall always persevere
You've murdered John Africa
You've stomped Life Africa
You've killed Merle Africa
And now you took Phil Africa
No, this shall not go unnoticed
Cuz we are fuckin pissed
And we've had more than enough of you
You shall be crushed by the power of Truth
I never met Phil before,
But we've corresponded back and forth
He helped me through some very tough times
And for that he's always on my mind
I've even made a video of his art
His drawings and paintings touch the heart
And this is all you need to do
In order to change the world anew
And this is why you took him away
But as my poem is read today
His soul is present, filling the air
You can't see him but his vibration is there
For those whose lives are interrupted
Become roaming souls for a long period
But those who go the natural way
Are reborn within a couple of days
(This is from the Yogic science,
Something they don't teach you at school)
MOVE has heard my calling cry
They've all given me strength to survive
To live up and to help others strive
All praises to the Order of Life!
None of you could stop our flow
Just give in to Nature's show
What is your empire meant for
When you know you'll die tomorrow?
And I wait to see if Obama speaks
Speak out Obama at what your country reeks!
Come take matters in your own hands
Show the people where you stand
It's the murder of another innocent man
By the system that YOU represent
You cannot ignore this,
You cannot ignore MOVE.
But we know you won't speak out
Cause if you do,
Tomorrow's news will show a dead black president,
Shot in the head as he was leaving his house.
"What happened to him???
He tried to speak out for justice."
This is why we need to do the job ourselves
Cause nobody is gonna do it for us
We can't ask the system to stop itself
John Africa had already said this.
So lets all work towards LIFE!
And each time they take one of us away,
We should work a hundred times more!
And use the bad news of our close ones being murdered,
To spark more light in more people!
And at this pace, we can only be victorious.
And the system shall see its end sooner than we think!
And if done right, this work shall not stress you or tire you,
But it shall enlighten you, empower you, bring you satisfaction and peace of mind.
For no fruit bearing tree grows without the tenderness of sun and water and fertile soil.
No life could grow without love and care.
When done with love, NOTHING is stressful.
And who can't love Life?
Who can't love Nature?
Who can't love Health?
Who can't love Truth?
And if you love these things, how can you sit and watch them be exploited?
If you love them, you can't.
And if you don't love them, you can't know Life, you can only know death, jealousy, egoism, violence, destructiveness, exploitation, oppression; this is what the system is.
So put down your i-phones, your i-pads, and spend more time with the I.
Switch off the channel of the system, and open the windows and the doors of reality.
Let us do this for everyone who was murdered.
Let us do it for Phil Africa.
And let us not let the same thing happen to Mumia Abu-Jamal or to the rest of the MOVE 9, or to anybody else unjustly imprisoned, or whoever is being exploited.
Let us help eachother, be real to eachother, patient and wise.
Let us make that change RIGHT THE FUCK NOW!!!!!!!!
--Omar Schekhli, a.k.a. Omar Africa
Dedicated to the passing of Phil Africa, written in the morning of Sunday 25th January 2015.