Joined tonight by MOVE 9 spokesperson Romana Africa. The MOVE Organization surfaced in Philadelphia during the early 1970's. Characterized by dreadlock hair, the adopted surname "Africa", a principled unity, and an uncompromising commitment to their belief, members practiced the teachings of MOVE founder JOHN AFRICA. Move's work is to stop industry from poisoning the air, the water, the soil, and to put an end to the enslavement of life.
In 1978, a standoff with police over orders to vacate the Powelton Village MOVE house occured. MOVE failed to relocate and police later attempted forced entry. Philadelphia police officer James J. Ramp was killed by a shot to the back of the head. MOVE representatives claim that he was facing the house at the time. Nine MOVE members would be found guilty of third-degree murder in the shooting death of officer James J. Ramp. Seven of the nine became eligible for parole in the spring of 2008, and all seven were denied parole. Parole hearings now occur yearly.
In 1981, MOVE relocated to a row house at 6221 Osage Avenue in the Cobbs Creek area of West Philadelphia. During another incident with police, a police helicopter dropped a four-pound bomb made of C-4 plastic explosive and Tovex, a dynamite substitute, onto the roof of the house. The resulting explosion caused the house to catch fire. The resulting fire was allowed to turn into a massive blaze which eventually destroyed 65 houses total.
Eleven people, including John Africa, five other adults and five children, died in the resulting fire. Ramona Africa and one child, Birdie Africa, were the only survivors. No police officer or public official was ever charged for the loss of life and property damage caused by their negligent actions.