The MOVE Organization held a community celebration to mark the historical impact of the January 18, 2019, release of MOVE 9 member Delbert Orr Africa, from Pennsylvania’s SCI Dallas after being unjustly imprisoned for over 40 years. He was among nine MOVE members who were unjustly convicted of 3rd degree murder after the brutal August 8, 1978 police attack on the MOVE house in Powelton that resulted in the death of a police officer due to “friendly fire.”
Before coming to Philadelphia and joining MOVE, Delbert Africa was a member of the Chicago Chapter of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense along with Fred Hampton, Sr., chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panthers, who was brutally assassinated by Chicago Police in 1969. Fortunately Delbert escaped to Canada where he lived before moving to Philadelphia’s Powelton neighborhood where he met John Africa, founder of MOVE. Delbert joined the organization and served as MOVE’s Minister of Confrontation and Security before his unjust imprisonment that resulted in 41 years of incarceration
“After 41 years, our brother Delbert Africa finally came home from prison Saturday morning January 18,” said Pam Africa, MOVE member and spokesperson for the International Family and Friends of Mumia Abu Jamal. “His triumphant return after spending four decades behind bars unjustly for charges the government always knew the Move 9 were not guilty of, is being celebrated worldwide! His family and supporters are overjoyed to finally welcome Delbert home where he always belonged. We marked this occasion with a gathering with three generations of strong Move family members and supporters. Delbert is stronger and more dedicated than ever, encouraging us all to stay strong and to never stop fighting this rotten system!”
The room at the Kingsessing Library was filled with community and family members who greeted and celebrated with Delbert who was overjoyed to finally be free. Among those welcoming him home was his daughter Yvonne and political activist Fred Hampton, Jr. who flew in to Philly for the occasion.
“I’m overwhelmed, feeling good and getting stronger every day,” Delbert exclaimed. “I plan to keep on pushing, stay on the move and not get stagnated into doing nothing.”
When asked about Donald Trump and the current political climate in the nation, he said, “Don’t be stagnated and don’t let it sit there. Go ahead and get rid of Trump and anybody who wants to be like him. Get rid of all of them. Be your own president, be your own city councilman. Stand up and take controlling steps!”
The MOVE 9 are nearing the end of a decades long nightmare and the beginning of a new era of freedom and justice. However, the struggle continues. Chuck Africa, the remaining member of the MOVE 9, remains imprisoned and awaits parole. Other members of the MOVE 9, Janine Africa, Janet Africa and Eddie Africa were released in 2019. Mike Africa, Sr. and his wife Debbie Africa were released in 2018. Merle Africa died in prison in March 1998 and Phil Africa died in prison in January 2015.
The Move Organization will continue to focus and work on issues of racial injustice, environmental justice and freedom for Mumia Abu Jamal and all political prisoners.