Wilson Goode Way causes stir in Philadelphia City Council

Philadelphia City Council has approved renaming a section of 59th Street for former Mayor W. Wilson Goode Sr. who led the city from 1984 to 1992. (WHYY file photo)

Philadelphia City Council has approved renaming a section of 59th Street for former Mayor W. Wilson Goode Sr. who led the city from 1984 to 1992. (WHYY file photo)

Philadelphia City Council has approved a resolution renaming the 2400 block of 59th Street Wilson Goode Way.

Pam Africa of the group MOVE said her family is angry the city is honoring the former mayor who served from 1984 to 1992.

“Eleven members of my family — men, women and children — were bombed to death. A situation that was caused, where we’re still suffering today,” she said. “My sister Ramona Africa is in a hospital fighting for her life because of what happened on May 13, 1985.”

Ramona Africa was diagnosed with lymphoma over the summer. She and other MOVE members blame Goode for giving police approval to drop explosives on their fortified rowhome in 1985 to try to end a standoff with the radical back-to-nature group.

Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, who voted for the name change, said Goode should be honored as the first black mayor of the city.

“Given the role he has played in our city to inspire African-American young men, given the mountain he climbed to be the first African-American mayor in the city of Philadelphia, I think he is more than worthy to have a street named after him,” she said.

It’s not clear how soon the name change will take effect.

That block of 59th Street is near City Avenue, on the edge of Philadelphia.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.