PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It was 42 years ago today that the first armed battle broke out between the MOVE organization and the Philadelphia police occurred after Delbert Orr Africa surrendered. A rally was held in commemoration of the historic day on Saturday afternoon in West Philadelphia.
Supporters of MOVE and Black Lives Matter gathered to listen to speakers who spoke about racial justice.
Organizers tell Eyewitness News that Saturday’s message was about liberation.
“Forty-two years since the attack on MOVE. Aug. 8, 1978,” Mike Africa Jr. said. “The police attack that sent my mother, my father, my uncle Chuck and members of the MOVE organization to prison, and this is the 42-year anniversary of that arrest.”
Delbert Orr Africa was released after 42 years in prison in January. Africa was one of nine MOVE members sent to prison on third-degree murder charges for the death of Philadelphia Police Officer James Ramp.
In 1985, a city helicopter flew over the group’s Osage Avenue home and dropped a bomb that killed 11 people.
Saturday’s rally was supported by the Black Philly Radical Collective, a group of local groups that came together after the death of George Floyd in May.