“The way I’m in here is the way I’ll be outside, there is no risk factor,” she told them. In a system of mass incarceration that reportedly holds 2.5 million people in cages on any given day, over 275,000 U.S. prisoners are reported to have contracted COVID-19. 2019 Black Separatist hate groups View all groups by state and by ideology. Because I wasn’t getting the nutrition I needed.”. Passersby were accosted with a torrent of expletives. We demonstrated against police brutality. Forty years ago, Philadelphia erupted in one of the most dramatic shoot-outs of the black liberation struggle. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Workers World suspended printing and mailing of the newspaper on March 19. The toxic, unsanitary conditions in prisons mean that the continued imprisonment of Russell Maroon Shoatz and other human beings is an atrocity. August 23, 1943. The prison authorities let them keep the dog kenneled in their cell as part of a program in which they train the animal for later use as a service dogs for disabled people. FILE - In this April 25, 1977 file photo, Joanne Chesimard, member of the Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army, leaves Middlesex County courthouse in New Brunswick, N.J. They said the shooting had been started when gunfire erupted from the basement where the Move members were gathered, a theory supported by some eyewitnesses. The group that formed in the early 1970s melded the revolutionary ideology of the Black Panthers with the nature- and animal-loving communalism of 1960s hippies. And we did so uncompromisingly. In an attempt to evict them from the property, hundreds of officers had just stormed the building, pummeling it with water cannons and gunfire, and in the maelstrom a police officer had been killed and several other first responders injured. Soon after Move adults and naked children began emerging from the smoke-ridden basement. The Black Liberation Army and the Killers: After four years that included a lengthy manhunt, interrogation and interviews, evidence collection, legal procedures, and a mistrial resulting from a hung jury, Herman Bell, Albert Washington and Anthony Bottom were found guilty of homicide in the first degree of the two police officers on April 10, 1975. A white police officer is jabbing a shotgun at him with the muzzle inches from his throat. That sense of passion for the cause leaps out from the first email that Del Africa sent to me from Dallas in September 2016, after I’d contacted him asking to talk. When the 1978 siege happened, there were 12 adults and 11 children in the Move house in Powelton Village – and 48 dogs. Joe-Joe Bowen is a Black Liberation Army (BLA) Prisoner of War, serving two life sentences for actions carried out against a prison warden and deputy warden, as well as, an attempted prison break, which resulted in a five-day standoff. ( 1943-08-23) (age 77) Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. The Fraternal Order of Policeblames the BLA for the murders of 13 police officers. Janine was shoved and her baby, whom she had named Life, was knocked out of her arms to the ground. Composed entirely of Black Panthers who served as members of both groups, the organization's program was one of war against the United States government, and its stated goal was to "take up arms for the liberation and self-determination of black people in the United … Other executions have been stopped by legal challenges or political pressure –. The board asked Janine whether she would be a risk to the public were she to be let out, and she referred them to her pristine prison record: the last time she had any disciplinary rap was 26 years ago. I asked Janine Africa how she coped with losing two young sons during clashes with law enforcement. They each agreed to embark on an ongoing conversation with me about their political beliefs today and their battle to secure their own freedom. In that same letter she said she had turned grief into what she contests is a force for good: deeper commitment to the struggle. I went down, and after that I don’t remember anything ’til I came to and a dude was dragging me by my hair and cops started kicking me in the head.”. Another two police officers on the list were murdered by the Weather Underground [1981 Brinks Truck Robbery], a domestic terrorist group with ties to the Black Liberation Army. SPECIALCOLLECTION Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act 519b7f96993294098d512d3c Attachment Size HAZNERS, VILIS VOL. “Me and my sisters are doing good, staying strong,” was the first sentence she wrote to me. The name, styled in all-capital letters, is not an acronym. “A family of revolutionaries” is how Del Africa once described it to me. A Black Panther Party member and soldier in the Black Liberation Army, Shoatz was falsely accused of killing a cop in the Cobbs Creek area of Philadelphia in 1970. Whatever their tactic, it isn’t working!”, Debbie’s release also made a profound impact on Del Africa. *Asterisk denotes headquarters. “No one in the house had any gunshot residue, none of us had fingerprints on any of the weapons they claim came out of the house.”. Other names. Black liberation, animal liberation – the two are as one with Move. Delbert Orr Africa died in June 2020, only six months after his release. Del Africa, 72, and I talked for three hours in the prison visitors’ room. “The years are not my focus, I keep my mind on my health and the things I need to do day by day.”, Del Africa thinks of the eons behind bars not as “prison time” but as “revolutionary prison activity”. Philadelphia police had dropped a bomb from a helicopter onto a Move house on Osage Avenue in the west of Philadelphia in an attempt to force the black radicals to evacuate the premises after long-running battles with the authorities. “We exposed the crimes of government officials on every level,” Janine Africa wrote to me. On its side, the city was led at that time by the Frank Rizzo, Goode’s predecessor as Philadelphia mayor, a former police commissioner who liked to talk tough and was fond of dog-whistle politics. In June, the first of the nine to win parole, Debbie Africa, was released from a Pennsylvania women’s prison. Joseph earned his BA from the University of Kansas while at Leavenworth. He also told me what happened the second after that photo was taken, as though he were narrating the next few frames of a news reel. “I don’t like talking about the night Life was killed,” she wrote in April. In June, Janine and Janet Africa also went before the same parole board as Debbie and made essentially the same case that they had earned their freedom. Several commentators, some of whom vividly recalled the 1978 siege, sent blessings to the deceased police officer and his family. His 13-year-old daughter Delisha was also living in the Move house. I felt, and still do feel so badly for your family. “There were no windows, just a section of the wall with frosted panes. They called each other “sisters” and did everything together. “I’m supposed to be in a single cell. A member of the New Black Panther Party who was charged with voter intimidation in the 2008 election for standing outside a Philadelphia polling site was back Tuesday morning – … Forty years ago, Philadelphia erupted in one of the most dramatic shoot-outs of the black liberation struggle. And I was working in the kitchen and I still became anemic! She was reticent. “We read, we play cards, we watch TV. According to a Justice Department report on BLA activity, the Black Liberation Army is suspected of involvement in over 70 incidents of violence between 1970 and 1976. To hear it firsthand, from an elder ill with a life-threatening disease, is even more painful. “It’s strange not having Deb here,” Janine said. African liberation movement. “There are times when I think about Life and my son Phil, but I don’t keep those thoughts in my mind long because they hurt.”. Deeply committed as they were to each other, the Move “family” undoubtedly had the ability to incense those around them. Have they shown any remorse for what happened to my daughter in 1985?”. I came to and a dude was dragging me by my hair and cops started kicking me in the head. She too died in the fire. Since 1972 — nearly half a century ago — Russell Maroon Shoatz has languished in a prison cell built on stolen land, poisoned and irradiated by the fossil fuel industry. “That would be akin to making them right. 1_0004.pdf 6.13 MB ... army units from the Finnish Gulf to the Black Sea. They liked to project their revolutionary message at high volume from a bullhorn at all hours of night and day. We recommend that subscribers with internet access get our free email subscription and share our articles with your contacts and on social media. “The murder of my children, my family, will always affect me, but not in a bad way. Each was sentenced to 30 years to life, though to this day they protest their innocence. The Black Liberation Army was a violent, radical group that attempted to fight for independence from the United States government in the late 1960's and early 1970's. After being shot by police and then brutally beaten in 1981, he was one of hundreds of people incarcerated in Pennsylvania to contract hepatitis C, a disease running rampant in the state’s prisons. There was a similar robustness to the first response I received in December 2016 after reaching out to Janine Phillips Africa, one of the four women among the Move 9. Del Africa also heard bad news on 13 May 1985. In 1977, she was convicted of the murder of a New Jersey State Trooper in a trial that her supporters argue was unfair. While Debbie was set free, both Janine and Janet had their parole denied. Don't allow the mysteries of the system, the Big Brother thing, to prevent you from being daring and moving forward." Chevy misses her, he keeps sniffing her bed.”. Janine shared a cell with two other surviving Move women – Debbie Africa and Janet Holloway Africa – in Cambridge Springs women’s prison in Pennsylvania. Like many of the 19 black liberationists still behind bars, Del Africa is caught in a trap attached to the crime for which he was convicted. He once said of the Move radicals: “You are dealing with criminals, barbarians, you are safer in the jungle!” Another Rizzo classic was: “Break their heads is right. LONG LIVE FREEDOM’S STRUGGLE!” he proclaimed in capital letters at the top of the message. And they know it. You were SO brave. I will not give in.’”. The camera pans in on him as he lies on the street after he was hit with the police helmet. Janine Africa wrote to me a few days after she learnt of the denial, speculating that games were being played with her mind. Incarcerated since 1972 and now 77 years old, Maroon is serving multiple life sentences in Pennsylvania as … Janine Africa can be heard in the police footage screaming. In the course of that first letter, Janine Africa, who was 22 when she was arrested and is now 62, took me deep into the “torture chamber”, the cruel solitary confinement wing where she spent the first three years of her sentence. When I went to meet him he was wearing a burgundy one-piece with a white T-shirt and blue shoes. This is an even more urgent truth during the coronavirus pandemic. Nationality. What to do now? However, the continued killing of Black men and boys has served to force the average black person in America to arm themselves. Whereas the conditions for a Black Liberation Army supported by the masses was not yet ripe in the 1970’s and in the 1990’s, regardless of whether or not the political consciousness has reached a high level, masses of Black people are already armed now. As it turns out, that police officer really had been about to whack him. The BLA was responsible for the murders of more than 10 police officers around the country. 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