As the 36th anniversary of one of the most heinous examples of domestic terrorism in recent memory occurred earlier this month, more disturbing news emerged regarding the tragic event that transpired at 6221 Osage Ave. in the ‘city of brotherly love,’ May 13, 1985. The MOVE Organization held a press-conference April 26 at West Philly’s 52nd and Larchwood intersection “to inform people of the treachery that this government, and connecting entities, is still perpetuating against the MOVE Family,” pertaining to “the remains of our loved ones.”
Forensic investigations revealed that bone fragments recovered from the scene were from Delisha Africa, 12, and “Tree” Africa, 14––two of the five children murdered during the aerial attack by Philly’s finest. Six adults also perished in the inferno which incinerated an entire city block. After a police helicopter dropped a bomb on their home
“Our family members’ remains were in a drawer at the medical examiner,” revealed Pam Africa, MOVE’s minister of confrontation. “Somebody who works there contacted us. We didn’t know anything about it.”
The charred bones were contained at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology for several decades. They were being used in online forensic anthropology courses at Princeton University and the University of Pennsylvania, without the families’ consent.
“MOVE demands justice and peace for our murdered children and MOVE Family,” reads their statement.
The course has almost 5,000 enrolled students, and displays videos of Janet Monge, adjunct professor in anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania and visiting professor at Princeton. She was curator-in-charge of Penn Museum’s physical anthropology section. The insensitive videos display her showcasing the bones in class.
“Nobody said you can do that, holding up their bones for the camera. That’s not how we process our dead. This is beyond words. [She’s] holding the bones of a 14-year-old girl whose mother is still alive and grieving,” Michael Africa Jr explained. “Such a shame, such a tragedy. After 36 years, they haven’t even been allowed to rest in peace.”
MOVE demands they relinquish those remains, Monge be fired, that “[t]he Penn Museum and the University of Pennsylvania apologize for the “unethical possession of human remains,” and that they pay “some kind of restitution.”
According to both universities, the remains were obtained from the Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Office in 1985, “for continued analysis.”
“It is time for these individuals to be returned to their ancestral communities, wherever possible, as a step toward atonement and repair,” UPenn officials said in a statement.
Pam Africa noted, “This government took the lives of our children, and this brought back memories of that incident.”
Janine Africa concluded: “We are so angry and hurt behind this. We have to deal with the fact that some of our children have not been laid to rest. Who would do that to the remains of children? They can’t do anything for us, except free Mumia!”
Philly’s Council declared May 13 as “a day of observation, reflection and recommitment.” Virtual events were conducted May 13 and 15.
More info: onamove.com