Information on seven surviving members of MOVE 9
In 1978, police raided the MOVE’s Powelton Village home and as a result, one police officer died after being shot in the head. Nine MOVE members were arrested, charged with third-degree murder and sent to prison. They argued that the police officer was shot in the back of his head on his way into the home, challenging the claim that he was shot by members inside the house. Eventually the group relocated to the infamous house on 6221 Osage Street. MOVE 9 have been in prison ever since and the death of Merle Africa and Phil Africa reduced their number to seven, these members have been denied parole several times in recent years. A well elaborated life story is told of each surviving member in prison.
Chuck Africa was born in Philadelphia in 1959 and was raised in West Philadelphia. He has got three sisters and a brother. His parents were divorced. He met MOVE in 1973. It was a cold winter night. He and a few of his gang stepped into his mother’s house and right in the middle of the floor, numerous men and women with long un-combed hair were seated . The things that he heard stayed with him for the rest of his life. He had never heard anything like it. They talked about the court system, educational system, religion, they spoke on science, prayer and time. The information they received was powerful and had a gripping force on him and his friends and really everybody with its clarity.
Debbie Africa had just turned 22 before the cops raided their home in 1978. She was 8 ½ months pregnant when she had her 23 month old baby snatched from her arms by Philadelphia cops. On September 15, 1978, she gave birth to her son in her prison cell naturally without the aid of doctors, nurses, or prison staff. The baby was taken away from her some hours after birth. Having her second baby taken away from her for no reason really hurt her. She never got to physically mother her kids, whom are now parents themselves.
Mike Africa is MOVE’s Minister of Confrontation. He was born and raised in West Philadelphia, youngest of eight children, raised in an environment of poverty, gang war, and all the other afflictions of ghetto life. He started drinking at an early age to hang out with the crowd and eventually ventured over to drugs. He joined the Marines at the age of 16 to try to stem that spiral, but it definitely made things worse. He was introduced to some MOVE members by his wife’s family. The more he engaged in MOVE activity, the less he engaged in his former lifestyle. In the first couple of years being around MOVE, He went from being a young chain smoking, pill popping alcoholic, completely apathetic to the problems of virtually everybody, to doing none of those things and being motivated to become a strong revolutionary soldier because of the example demonstrated by JOHN AFRICA.
Janine Africa is the Minister of Education for the MOVE organization and the widow of the late Phil Africa. She met MOVE people when she was 17 years old. They were having a demonstration and she just happened to be passing by. She stopped to see what was going on, she listened to them speak and what really caught her attention was the strength, confidence and assertiveness of the MOVE women. On March 8, 1976, Janine gave birth to a baby and called her Life Africa. Three weeks later, MOVE had an encounter with the police. The police pulled up at their house claiming MOVE was creating a disturbance, one move member asked the cops to leave them alone. The cops started beating them, Janine Africa was trying to protect her husband Phil Africa, when she was grabbed by a cop, thrown to the ground with 3-week-old Life Africa in arms, and stomped until she was nearly unconscious. The baby’s skull was crushed. No officer was ever charged with any crime for the infanticide.
Eddie Goodman Africa was born in Philadelphia and raised in a Christian home by both parents. He grew up in the streets of Philadelphia, began drinking at the young age of fourteen and went on to drugs (marijuana, speed, pills, and heroin)–all by the age of fifteen. He went to jail for the first time in 1963 at the age of sixteen for “receiving stolen goods.” He got out of jail in 1967, but went back every summer after that. He started looking to join a Black group as he believed whites were evil. He joined a group called “Black Muslims,” but he still felt he wasn’t at the right place until he met MOVE in 1973. He began to work with MOVE because what they were giving him was more complete than anything he had ever known. He became a committed move member and a disciple of JOHN AFRICA.
Janet Africa was born in 1951 in New Jersey. Her mother was single and poor, so she gave Janet to her sister who was financially stable to take care of her. Janine had a normal life, went to a good school and had nice clothes. She moved to Philadelphia in 1970, got a job, met a man and had a baby, but she felt that she didn’t fit in, she had an empty feeling. She was introduced to MOVE in 1972 by an acquaintance. She attended study sessions regularly and started incorporating JOHN AFRICA’s teaching into her life, it cleared away so much confusion she had been carrying and her thoughts became clear. Thanks to JOHN AFRICA, she has the life she had been searching for and she got back her life the system took away from her.
Delbert Africa is the Minister of Confrontation and Security for the MOVE Organization. He has been in MOVE almost since the beginning. Before MOVE, he was in the Black Panthers. He joined the group on an ego trip and he felt like a confused individual all through because he continued to feel emptiness in his life. He ran into MOVE people in 1970 talking about revolution. He approached them on the basis of “Well, what you are saying is good, but what about the Red Book and what about Democratic Socialism?” They gave him quick and simple answers of what revolution MUST be in order to work for everyone, which completely shot down all that theoretical scientific nonsense that he was equipped with. Since then, he followed the teaching of JOHN AFRICA and lived by the rules of MOVE.
The profiling of these MOVE 9 members gives an insight into their lives; before and after joining the organization, how it changed their perception for the better and the positivity it brought to them.
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