Delbert Orr Africa died on Monday, June 15, 2020, after a two-year battle with prostate and bone cancer.
On behalf of the African People’s Socialist Party, we would like to extend our profound condolences to the Comrades, friends and family of Comrade Brother Delbert Orr Africa.
We want to share with the world what we know of the significance of the life of Brother Delbert, a hero of our African liberation struggle. Much of the insight we gained about the 1978 and 1985 U.S. military assault and bombing of MOVE came from the testimony of Doc Hatter at the 4th Session of the International Tribunal on Reparations for Black People in the U.S., organized by our Party and held in November 1985.
Delbert Orr Africa was a member of the MOVE Family Africa, or the MOVE organization. Founded by John Africa in 1972, MOVE fought to keep our freedom struggle alive after the Black Power Movement of the 1960s was militarily defeated by the U.S. government counterinsurgency program.
MOVE members lived in collectives in West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They sought to inspire our people to self-determination by setting a healthy lifestyle example, eating raw vegan food, exercising and homeschooling their children.
They organized demonstrations expressing their disunity with the conditions of the black community, as well as other colonial contradictions. They would not back down, even facing the harshest attacks. In one incident at their home, a 2-month-old infant was snatched from its mother’s arms and stomped to death by police.
MOVE did not recognize the authority of the U.S. government over their lives and would not allow police into their homes under any pretense.
In 1978, the Philadelphia police, under the direction of the notorious chief Frank Rizzo, mounted a military assault on a MOVE house. Five to six hundred cops took up positions in all floors of all the surrounding buildings and opened fire on the house.
The MOVE house was a wood frame house that couldn’t repel the onslaught of bullets. MOVE members retreated to the basement.
As the smoke cleared from the gunfire, one cop lay dead, shot in the back as he approached the house.
At the same time as the armed assault, police opened up a massive water cannon on the house. Within 2 minutes, the basement filled with water. Women could be seen holding babies over their heads.
To survive drowning, the MOVE members crawled out of the basement window and were captured by the police.
What happened next was seen around the world, exposing for all to see the brutally violent nature of U.S. parasitic colonialism in its treatment of African people.
Video recordings showed Delbert Africa, down on the sidewalk, his dreadlocked head being kicked back and forth repeatedly by two police thugs.
Nine MOVE members, including Brother Delbert, were convicted of the murder of the cop who was actually killed by his own brethren in their frenzy to fire on MOVE.
Delbert was sentenced to prison for 30 years to life for a crime he did not commit. He served 42 years before being released on January 18, 2020 as a result of ongoing campaigns led by MOVE family and friends around the world.
On May 13, 1985 Philadelphia police, under Philadelphia’s first neocolonial mayor Wilson Goode, conducted an aerial bombing of another MOVE house, killing 11 African children, women and men.
The fire department refused to put out the resulting fire until it had burned down 62 houses in the African community of West Philadelphia. They wanted to send a message to the African community that if you resist, you will be killed and your houses burned to the ground.
It was this bombing of MOVE and the African community that prompted the Party to send our premiere organizer, the late Omowale Kefing, into Philadelphia to mount a defense of our beleaguered community, to work to rebuild our movement and to expose neocolonialism, which had confused our people and co-opted our righteous African working class struggle.
Today, in the wake of worldwide uprisings responding to another videotaped murder of an African – George Floyd – we see whose precincts and parasitic corporate buildings are burning.
African resistance is on the rise and we are winning!
Delbert Africa, along with the other warriors of the MOVE 9, was a freedom fighter.
We hold high the courageous Delbert Orr Africa and will remember him as an African martyr.
No Compromise! No Surrender!
Long Live the MOVE Family Africa!
Long Live John Africa!
Long Live Delbert Africa!
Delbert Africa in Powelton Village in 1978