Remembering Merle Africa 20 Years Later

March 13th 2018 will mark 20 years since MOVE political prisoner Merle Africa died under mysterious circumstances at The State Correctional Institution in Cambridge Springs Pennsylvania. This is a piece written in dedication to Merle by MOVE political prisoner Mike Africa. On March 13th we are asking people to circulate and collect signatures for our petition aimed at the United States Justice Department for The Move 9. People can sign the petition at

In a day of remembrance for Merle and her work, let’s push this petition and collect more signatures. Lastly this is a portrait of Merle painted by Brooklyn Based painter Sophia Dawson. We would like to thank Sophia for letting us use this painting of Merle. We are also asking people to please not use the image from this painting for your personal use.

Ona Move
As you may know by now, August 8th, 1978, The Move Organization was attacked by hundreds of Philadelphia cops and firemen.  They were there to perform what they considered to be the final solution to MOVE to kill us all.
Knowing we had all gone to the basement of our Headquarters, the police began tearing the house down around us. Firemen then unleashed a downpour of water from their hoses, just before other cops shot in smoke and tear gas, followed by a seemingly endless barrage of gunfire.
When the smoke cleared somewhat, the city realized that they had mostly shot up their own folks . Chuck, Delbert, and one of our puppies had been wounded but the bulk of their gunfire had hit other cops and firemen. The area looked exactly like the war zone the city had turned it into. Smoke and tear gas swirling throughout the neighborhood, occupying the force of cops chasing down neighbors who protested their presence .
Through all that smoke and official rage, came Merle slowly striding into view. Only she wasn’t trying to avoid anyone. She was CONFRONTING THEM ! Loudly, Defiantly, with her thoughts not of her own well being, but on verbally charging the police for what they had just done to her family and that is our sister Merle!
A very generous and courageous soul. Concern and Commitment to family, A careful and considerate friend, a gentle nurturer but a fierce protector. I still often read the letters she sent me over the years . They always make me laugh, They always make me think, they would always encourage me to be the kind of person that anyone would be proud to know and trust. To Just Try. She told me that each day was yet another fresh opportunity to look critically at yourself and improve and how great a gift it was to have an opportunity to be a better self for those you love and who love you.
I see her as I write this. I hear her loud infectious laugh. Hear her very encouraging tone.
Merle spent the last 30 years of her life demonstrating her commitment to activism, to revolution , to MOVE, TO JOHN AFRICA . I  am honored to have known her for the time i did . Her loyal family spirit will travel with me always .
I Love You Sister !
On The Move
Michael Africa

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