published: date unknown
Eleven people, including five children, perished in a blaze after the state of Philadelphia dropped a bomb on a house owned by members of MOVE. Sixty one houses burned to the ground on that infamous day, 13th May 1985.
The black liberation group MOVE was founded in 1972 by John Africa (born Vincent Leaphart). Living communally in a house in West Philadelphia, members of MOVE all changed their surnames to Africa, shunned modern technology and materialism, and preached support of animal rights, revolution and a return to nature.
Their first conflict with law enforcement occurred in 1978, when police tried to evict them from their house. A firefight erupted, killing one police officer and injuring several more on both sides.
Nine members of the group were sentenced to 100 years in prison for the officer’s killing. In 1981, the group moved to a row house on Osage Avenue.