Kim Kelly: The History of the Black Radical Group MOVE and Its Infamous Bombing by Police

And how Philadelphia became “the city that bombed itself.”

Teen Vogue, May 14, 2020

In 1985, an armed standoff between Philadelphia police and members of a radical black liberation group resulted in the deaths of eleven people. Despite two grand jury investigations and a commission finding that top officials were “grossly negligent”, no police officers or city officials were ever charged for their role in what’s known as the MOVE bombing.

Now, memories of the events serve as a warning about the dangers of the police state, and a reminder of the price that black radicals have paid in their fight for liberation.

The era in which MOVE was born was an especially dangerous period for activists and organizers. COINTELPRO, the FBI surveillance program that targeted “political dissident” groups like the Black PanthersVietnam War protesterscivil rights leadersPuerto Rican independence activistsfeminists, and socialists, was in effect from 1956 until its exposure in 1971. Its tactics had fatal results, as when Fred Hampton — the deputy chair of the Chicago chapter of the Black Panther Party and also its national spokesman — was killed in 1968 by police as part of a COINTELPRO sting.

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