39 years after the MOVE attack, activists reflect

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A gathering was held Monday to honor the 11 victims of the 1985 MOVE bombing.

The day marked 39 years since Philadelphia police dropped a bomb on the home of the black liberation group MOVE at 6221 Osage Ave. The fire that followed was left to burn by the fire department. It resulted in the deaths of five children and the destruction of 61 homes on two blocks of the predominantly black neighborhood.

Several speakers, including family member Mike Africa Jr., read the victims’ names in the middle of Cobbs Creek Parkway on Monday, on the same block where the bombing occurred. Africa Jr. said he did not want those who perished to be “faceless victims.”

Gabriel Bryant, YahNé Ndgo, Mike Africa Jr. and Krystal Strong
Gabriel Bryant, YahNé Ndgo, Mike Africa Jr. and Krystal Strong gave remarks on May 13, 2024, on the same street where the MOVE bombing occurred in 1985. (Cory Sharber/WHYY)

“Our people weren’t just names, they were people,” he said. “They had lives, they had dreams, they had interests, they had feelings. They were kidnapped, extinct. They were killed. It’s really important for us to document this history, talk about these things and never forget them. If you forget, history will surely repeat itself.”