The MOVE bombing in Philadelphia: memory and justice

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FILE - In this May, 1985 file photo, scores of row houses burn in a fire in the west Philadelphia neighborhood. Police dropped a bomb on the militant group MOVE's home on May 13, 1985 in an attempt to arrest members, leading to the burning of scores of homes in the neighborhood. A day after Philadelphia's health commissioner was forced to resign over the cremation of partial remains thought to belong to victims of a 1985 bombing of the headquarters of a Black organization, the city now says those victims' remains were never destroyed. City officials told the victims' family Friday, May 14, 2021 that a subordinate had disobeyed Health Commissioner Thomas Farley’s 2017 order to dispose of the remains. (AP Photo/File)

FILE - In this May, 1985 file photo, scores of row houses burn in a fire in the west Philadelphia neighborhood. Police dropped a bomb on the militant group MOVE's home on May 13, 1985 in an attempt to arrest members, leading to the burning of scores of homes in the neighborhood. A day after Philadelphia's health commissioner was forced to resign over the cremation of partial remains thought to belong to victims of a 1985 bombing of the headquarters of a Black organization, the city now says those victims' remains were never destroyed. City officials told the victims' family Friday, May 14, 2021 that a subordinate had disobeyed Health Commissioner Thomas Farley’s 2017 order to dispose of the remains. (AP Photo/File)

The 1985 bombing of MOVE in West Philadelphia killed 11 members of the group including five children. The city was trying to evict them from their home on Osage Ave after years of complaints by their neighbors. The bombing led to an out of control fire that destroyed those neighbors’ homes. Fast forward to 2021 and that tragedy and trauma are back in the news. It turns out that bones of several of the young bombing victims were being used in an on-line course and others had been forgotten, sitting in a box in the Medical Examiner’s office. Today on Radio Times, the legacy of the MOVE bombing. Our guests are LAYLA JONES, reporter for WHYY’s Billy Penn, MIKE AFRICA JR., a member of MOVE, who says apologies are not enough and that the government needs to be held accountable, and LINN WASHINGON, who covered MOVE back in the 70’s and 80’s and now is a professor of journalism at Temple University.

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