Oxford AASC: Photo Essay

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PHOTO ESSAY

The 1985 Move Incident

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Speaking at the Uhuru Flea Market in Phildelphia

Ramona Africa in 2010. Courtesy of Uhurusolidarity.org.

Along with thirteen-year-old Birdie Africa, Ramona Africa was the only survivor of the bombing. She escaped from the remains of the MOVE compound by crawling through a window, suffering severe burns in the process. Taken immediately into police custody, Ramona, the organization's spokeswoman, was tried and convicted on charges of conspiracy to riot. She served the entirety of her seven-year sentence; though eligible for parole at sixteen months, she continually refused to disassociate herself with MOVE, a condition for early release. Though little is known about her early life, Ramona worked as a paralegal before joining MOVE, an experience that would later help her navigate the battery of legal fights that would make up much of her adult life. In 1996 Ramona—along with relatives of deceased MOVE leader John Africa and his nephew Frank Africa—successfully sued the city of Philadelphia in a wrongful death suit. The jury verdict held that the city used excessive force and violated the organization's right to unreasonable search and seizure, awarding Ramona $500,000 and the relatives of John and Frank $1 million. Additionally, former Philadelphia police commissioner Gregore Sambor and former fire commissioner William Richmond were ordered to pay Ramona $1 per week for the following eleven years. Birdie Africa, now living with his non-MOVE-affiliated father and known as Michael Moses Ward, was awarded $1.7 million in 1991. No criminal convictions have been brought against Goode, Richmond, Sambor, or any other city official involved in the raid.

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