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 Mayor Ed Rendell             Justice Ron Castille               District Attorney
Room 215                     PA Supreme Court               Lynne Abraham
    City Hall                     1818 Market Street             1421 Arch Street
Phila., PA 19107                     Suite 3730                     Phila., PA 19102
             215-686-3000                  Phila., PA 19103                  215-686-8700
 Fax: 215-686-2555                215-560-5663                Fax: 215-686-8704
    Fax: 215-560-1808
May 13, 1992 rally

Old Faces in New Places
After May 13, MOVE would forever be a part of Philadelphia history.  Thousands of features, editorials, articles, and interviews were followed by documentaries, books, and plans for a feature-length movie.  A decade of biased and distorted stories spawned a new generation of misinformation, though the truth did begin to emerge here and there.  To set the record straight, MOVE supporters published 20 Years on the MOVE in late 1991.
As Wilson Goode's second term ended, Frank Rizzo made another bid to get his old job back, but died of a heart attack July 16, 1991.  In January of 1992, Ed Rendell became the mayor of Philadelphia and faced the daunting task of refurbishing the city's poor image, tarnished by corruption scandals, serial killers, a bankruptcy crisis, and the stigma of being "the city that dropped the bomb."  In 1994, Justice Rolf Larson (who had remarked during MOVE's August 8th murder trial, "They ought to hang those niggers in cages from the ceiling and try them that way.")  was removed from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for improperly obtaining prescription drugs.  Former Philadelphia DA Ron Castille was elected to fill the vacancy.  Former judge Lynne Abraham (who had signed MOVE warrants in 1977 and 1985) became the city's new District Attorney.
Years of sacrifice in blood and lives had earned MOVE a formidable credibility and integrity that kept police from attempting the intimidation and harassment tactics of the early days when members were arrested and beaten constantly.  While a lot of cops still wished all MOVE members were dead, killing the intangible legacy of Osage Avenue could never be accomplished with guns and bombs.  The city switched to a tactic of focusing attention elsewhere in the hopes that government culpability in the tragedy would be quietly forgotten and history books could be censored accordingly.  MOVE countered this new ploy with the same dedication and commitment they applied to past confrontations.  Forums, demonstrations, and other public events were held yearly on the anniversaries of August 8th and May 13th.  In 1994, MOVE resumed publication of the First Day newspaper.  Members kept busy with increasing requests to speak to students, community groups, political activists, and interviewers across the country.

Demonstration in support of Mumia Abu-Jamal
             Mumia Abu-Jamal                    Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge
                  AM-8335                           Main Capitol Building  Room 225
      1040 E. Roy Furman Highway                     Harrisburg, PA 17120
Waynesburg, PA 15370-8090                           717-787-2500

 Mumia Abu-Jamal  -  Part 2
After he was transferred to a prison far from Philadelphia in 1983 and his regular appeals were denied, Mumia was written off by the mainstream and largely forgotten by the general public.  MOVE however, stood by Mumia through thick and thin.  In reporting on the August 8, 1978 confrontation and resulting trials, Mumia had taken a bold stand for truth and justice.  He had also bucked the status quo and thrown away a chance to be a network news anchor.  The pay-back took many years and extracted enormous personal sacrifice, but eventually Mumia's career as a journalist came full circle in an unprecedented way, and MOVE played an instrumental role.

While confined to the bleak isolation of death row, Mumia never lost his journalist's instincts and continued to write about what he saw, heard and felt.  By 1990, some of his articles had appeared in The Yale Law Journal, The Nation, and other publications.  In 1991, the MOVE Organization, through the coordination of JOHN AFRICA consolidated local support for Mumia by forming The Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal, headed by Pam Africa.  The committee set about lobbying, educating, and fund-raising, and through years of dedicated hard work grew from a small community group to an international collective.  Renowned defense attorney Leonard Weinglass was enlisted to re-investigate the case.

Starting in 1993, The International Concerned Family and Friends began publishing The Jamal Journal, Mumia's own newspaper.  In 1994, National Public Radio agreed to air a series of audio recordings of Mumia reading his commentaries, but under pressure from the Fraternal Order of Police the plans for broadcast were canceled.

In January of 1995, Tom Ridge became governor of Pennsylvania.  Unlike his predecessor, Ridge was an avid proponent of capital punishment, and the first execution in Pennsylvania since 1962 was carried out.  In early May, Live from Death Row, a 215 page hardback collection of Mumia's writings was published and became available in bookstores nationwide.  Ridge's June 1995 signing of Mumia's death warrant brought a storm of international protest.

  Attorney Leonard Weinglass
Demonstration in Philadelphia     August 12, 1995
P.C.R.A.   Appeals

Pennsylvania's Post-Conviction Collateral Relief Act (PCRA) allows prior convictions to be reexamined under claims of newly discovered evidence, constitutional violations, or ineffective assistance of counsel.  It is rare for a new trial to be granted through the PCRA process, possibly because few convicted defendants can afford the cost of a full-scale re-investigation.  Whereas just staying in contact with the outside world is difficult enough, conducting witness interviews, consulting with experts and re-examining evidence is virtually impossible from a prison cell.  Additionally, post-trial appeals often deal more with complex interpretations and case precedents of the judicial process, rather than the specific crime scene events.

Most of MOVE's legal materials from the August 8, 1978 case (and much of Mumia Abu-Jamal's legal documentation) were destroyed in the fire May 13, 1985.  In light of these constraints, the nine August 8th defendants were not able to file for PCRA appeals until the early 1990's when they enlisted the assistance of an attorney.  As of early 1996, due to repeated delays and continuances, the case is still pending.

In June of 1995, after years of extensive research, a team of lawyers led by Leonard Weinglass filed a PCRA appeal for Mumia Abu-Jamal, which documented gross misconduct and constitutional violations in what was anything but a fair trial by a jury of one's peers.  Researchers discovered that Mumia had been watched and targeted by the FBI since he was 14 years old, and that Judge Sabo had sentenced more people to death than any other sitting judge in the country.  Claiming that he could e fair to both sides, Sabo denied a motion to be recused and presided over the PCRA evidentiary hearing.  Abandoning even the pretense of impartiality, Sabo attacked defense counsel, jailing one for attempting to enter into evidence a defense exhibit, and fining another $1,000. for failing to move fast enough.  Before the hearings were ended, even the major media editorials were acknowledging that Sabo's injudicious and openly biased conduct made the proceedings a farce.  In the fall of 1995, the case went to the State Supreme Court after Sabo refused to grant Mumia a new trial.

Staying on the Move
Many MOVE people who were children in 1978 new have children of their own, making the original MOVE members grandparents.  Predictions of MOVE's demise after May 13, 1985 were proved false by the organization's steady re-emergence as a visible, active entity.  A quarter century since first appearing in Philadelphia, the MOVE Organization stays in touch with an international list of contacts and maintains a full schedule of speaking engagements.  Ramona Africa has been invited to speak as such respected institutions as Harvard University, thus fulfilling a decades old prophecy of JOHN AFRICA.  To satisfy an ever increasing demand for information about the organization, Sue, Ramona and Carlos Africa embarked on a European speaking tour in February of 1996, with stops in London, Amsterdam, Brussels, and other cities,  MOVE's activities continue at a vigorous clip and the ongoing struggle for Mumia Abu-Jamal's freedom has become a major part of their work.  MOVE has also begun working in solidarity with support groups for all U.S. political prisoners including Leonard Peltier, Linda Evans, Mutulu Shakur, Geronimo ji Jaga, Marilyn Buck, Sundiata Acoli, and many others.

Government propaganda mis-characterizing MOVE as terrorists has occasionally led to speculation on the possibility of another violent confrontation.  However, a factual review of past conflicts reveals that the ones to initiate violence have always been police, sheriffs, or other government agents.  Invariably, MOVE's first stance in any conflict has been to put out information through demonstrations, protests, letters, interviews, etc.  Only if the opposition chooses to react with less peaceful methods, will MOVE respond in kind.  Whether the weapons used to attack them are fists, clubs, guns, bombs, tear-gas, tape recorders, cameras, fax machines, or laptops, MOVE members will defend themselves masterfully with the strategy of JOHN AFRICA.

Tomaso, Tree and Netta Africa
(All murdered by the city of Philadelphia May 13, 1985)


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