Episode 40: Part 1 – They Let it Burn

Philadelphia has  a moment that defined us. It was a window of opportunity where the city made a choice and that choice was viewed on television screens across the country.  It was the moment the city of Philadelphia dropped a bomb on a residential street.  Most of the houses on that street were empty – the police contacted residents and evacuated the neighborhood, but one house had thirteen people living there, that house wasn’t evacuated. It was 6221 Osage Avenue, in the Cobbs Creek section of Philadelphia.  There were seven adults and 6 children in the house on the morning of May 13, 1985, and before the sun came up the next day, all but two were dead.

The city of Philadelphia dropped a bomb  – specifically a satchel bomb, on a row house in Philadelphia. The satchel bomb dropped from a helicopter flying low overhead. People watched as a bag fell out of the helicopter  and landed on the roof of 6221 Osage Ave.  Reporters covering every moment from the street felt the ground shake, they saw the explosion and they took cover as the building soon became engulfed in flames.  What was it that compelled our city to drop a bomb on a residential neighborhood?  What was it about the residents  on Osage  Ave – what did they do that warranted this destruction?  And who were they?  Their story starts long before May 13, 1985, when all but Ramona and Birdie Africa died in a blaze that defined our city. This is the story of MOVE.  Part 1 covers the evolution of MOVE, founded by John Africa in 1972, and the days Philadelphia ran a 10 month siege against the members of MOVE.  We talk about the siege that became a two month blockade when the city tried to starve MOVE out of their house.  This episode is the history, and the transformation of MOVE, before they took over the residence at 6221 Osage Ave in 1983.

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Special thanks to the following contributors in these two part episodes:  Margo D from Book Vs. Movie Podcast (Fit Bottomed Girls Podcast, Best Neighbors Podcast,) Jeremy H from Most Wonderful Wonders Podcast, Jeremy C from the Podcasts We Listen To Podcast and Facebook Community,  Jennifer M, David the Producer from the Unwritable Rant Podcast,  Erika G from the Apex and Abyss Podcast, Robin W from the Trail Went Cold Podcast, Roseanne S from Killafornia Dreaming Podcast,  Nick H from the Concession Stand Podcast. 

Thanks to Emmy Cerra for the music you hear in every episode of TwistedPhilly.  You can find out more information about Emmy on her website – www.emmycerra.com – and download her music on iTunes.

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