His name is Delbert Africa, a well-known member of the MOVE organization of Philadelphia. But if you’re in your twenties or thirties or even your forties, you may be forgiven if you don’t know the name.
That’s because he’s perhaps best known as the man who was brutally punched, kicked, rifle-butted, and stumped by police when he got arrested, and this happened long before the infamous Rodney King police beating in Los Angeles. That’s because Delbert was assaulted on video in August 1978, one of the earliest MOVE confrontations.
Africa, like other MOVE members, have taught younger prisoners in ways to appreciate and become closer to their families. That sense of service, which is deep in MOVE, doesn’t douse his fire. Listen for yourself.
“My name’s Delbert Africa from the MOVE organization. I just want to say the MOVE organization is a family of strong, serious, deeply committed revolutionaries founded by a wise perceptive, strategically minded black man named John Africa. John Africa took each and every MOVE member from the weak-bodied, fig, inactive, apathetic persons that we were and molded us into strong revolutionaries that are committed to doing away this eliminating this system: not reforming it, not changing the government, but eliminating this whole oppressive system.”
Delbert Africa is a revolutionary who’s just as steadfast in his belief as he was back in the seventies. That’s because he’s seen and experienced things that would astonish people. Remember that kicking and stomping I mentioned earlier? You ever wonder what happened to those cops caught on video? Well, in a word, nothing, but that’s a story for another day. Delbert Africa issues a call to all social, radical, and revolutionary movements to keep on fighting.
“What I’m here today, thanks to Noelle Hanrahan and Prison Radio, is a call for everybody else out there, I don’t care who you are, to become and stay revolutionary, because revolution is not a philosophy. It ain’t a theory. It’s an activity. If you still worshipping money, if you still doing drugs, if you abusing your mate, then you ain’t revolting against the system. You helping this system keep this same thing going. And what I’m saying is I want the eco-warriors to keep on fighting. I want Black Lives Matter to keep on revolting. I want the animal liberationists to keep on fighting. Those who are defending native lands out there in South Dakota against that oppressive pipeline, keep on fighting. Don’t let this system put you down. I want everybody in the LGBTQ community, keep on fighting. Don’t give in. This is what John Africa has taught MOVE: not to ever give in to this oppressive system. It don’t matter about jail. It don’t matter about prison. We know that we can keep on, and we won’t be stopped.”
Delbert Africa specifically sent his salute to the Black Lives Matter movement, adding that he loved those young folks. He ain’t alone in that.
From imprisoned nation, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.
These commentaries are recorded by Noelle Hanrahan of Prison Radio.