Meet Debbie Africa: First Member of MOVE 9 to Be Freed After Nearly 40 Years Behind Bars

Today marks the 40th anniversary of a massive police operation in Philadelphia that culminated in the siege of the headquarters of the black radical group known as MOVE. The group was founded by John Africa, and all its members took the surname Africa. It was August 8, 1978, when police tried to remove members of MOVE from their communal home with water cannons and battering rams, even as some continued to hide in the basement with children. During the siege on MOVE’s house, gunfire was exchanged, and a police officer named James Ramp was killed. Two years later, nine MOVE members were convicted of third-degree murder in Ramp’s death. They were sentenced to 30 to 100 years in prison and became the MOVE 9. We speak with Debbie Africa, the first of the nine to be released from prison, and her son Mike Jr. At the time of Debbie’s arrest, she was 8-and-a-half months pregnant with her son, who was born inside prison. They were reunited on June 16 after nearly four decades separated. We also air footage from the documentary ”MOVE: Confrontation in Philadelphia,” directed and produced by Karen Pomer and Jane Manicini. (

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One Reply to “Meet Debbie Africa: First Member of MOVE 9 to Be Freed After Nearly 40 Years Behind Bars”

  1. Mrs. Africa looks great. She has the very determined look about her. Sending light, love, healing, peace, justice and joy to her and her entire family. May the other family members be release very soon.
    Om Shrim (unconditional love), Mrs. Africa.

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