31 JAN.: Celebrate the Life of Phil Africa!
ONA MOVE, Everybody. First, let me thank each of you for your genuine and kind words to this family regarding the loss of our brother, Phil Africa. We wish we could thank you individually but the sheer number of the responses we have received makes that impossible. Know that we love you all and our family truly appreciates your response to our loss. We want to inform you that there will be a celebration of the revolutionary life our brother, Phil Africa, on Saturday, January 31, 2015 at the Kingsessing Recreation Center, located at 49th and Kingsessing Ave. from 1-4 pm. We’re inviting all of you that can attend. If you choose to, you can take the opportunity to verbally express how Phil touched you; what his revolutionary life means to you or whatever you would like to say about Phil Africa. If you are located far away or can not attend for whatever reason but would like to send us a brief comment about Phil, please do so and we will see that it’s read at the celebration. Again, thanks to each and every one of you for all of your kind words of support.
Ramona Africa for The MOVE Family
BRO. PHIL AFRICA (1956-2015), MOVE MEMBER
[col. writ. 1/10/15] © ’15 Mumia Abu-Jamal
He was born William Phillips, on Jan. 1, 1956, but few people called him by that name.
Most people knew him as Phil, and after joining the revolutionary naturalist MOVE organization in the early 1970s, most called him Phil Africa.
He was part of the confrontation of Aug. 8, 1978, in Philadelphia, where nearly a dozen MOVE members were charged in connection with that conflict, in which a cop likely died from friendly fire – but MOVE members were charged.
Among them, Phil Africa. Phil was among 9 MOVE men and women charged with murder, and convicted in a hotly disputed trial, of third degree murder. So disputed, in fact, that several days after the trial, Judge Edwin Malmed would admit, in a locally broadcast interview, that he ‘Hadn’t the faintest idea’….”the faintest idea” (his very words) …who killed the cop.
The 9 MOVE members were sentenced to 30 to 100 years: the longest in Pennsylvania history since third-degree became law in PA. Judge Malmed reportedly acknowledged the illegality of such a sentence, telling those sentenced that it may be reversed on appeal, but, for now, it would hold them. It appears Malmed believed the State Appellate courts were fairer than even they believed.
But not to people named Africa it seems.
For today, 37 years after the events of August, 1978, the fact that 7 remaining men and women are still in prison is nothing short of a scandal.
The MOVE men and women should’ve been free, at least 7 years ago, when they reached their minimums.
But this is Pennsylvania, where madness passes as normality.
Phil lost a son back in the mid –‘70s, when police trampled his child, Life Africa.
On May 13, 1985, when the police bombed a MOVE home, another son, Little Phil, was among the 11 people shot and burned to death.
Phil was an extremely talented artist and painter. He was a man with a gift of lightness, a witty sense of humor, and an ever-present smile.
Phil Africa, MOVE member, will be long loved and remembered by his wife, Janine Africa, by his brothers and sister in MOVE, and by many, many prisoners across the state, whom he counseled over the years.
Phil lived through 59 cycles of planet earth, before being returned to his Mother.