Freedom Fighter - Delbert Orr Africa - Black History and Literature Library
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  • Freedom Fighter - Delbert Orr Africa - Black Activist, Black Man, Freedom Fighter - Black History and Literature Library

    Freedom Fighter - Delbert Orr Africa

    Age: 73

    Incarcerated since: 1978

    Convicted of: Third-degree murder of police officer James Ramp during Philadelphia siege

    Sentence: 30 years to life

    Current prison: SCI Dallas, Pennsylvania

    Delbert Africa was one of nine MOVE members imprisoned after the 1978 clash. After being released, he said he looked forward to reuniting with the surviving MOVE members to continue the work of challenging what he called an unjust criminal justice system.

    “I want to keep on pushing the whole front of fighting this unjust system. I want to keep on pushing it and do as much as I can in my time here," he said.

    MOVE was created in 1972 by West Philadelphia native Vincent Leaphart, who called himself John Africa and preached an ideology centered on black revolutionary ideas and back-to-nature philosophies. The members considered MOVE their religion, adopting anti-technology and anti-government beliefs while taking on issues ranging from police brutality to animal rights.

    In 1978, after a year of legal wrangling between MOVE and the city, police raided MOVE’s Powelton Village home. Firefighters flushed the house with fire hoses, and police violently removed people. In the end, one MOVE member shot and killed Officer James Ramp. Eighteen police officers and firefighters were hurt in the incident.

    Delbert Africa maintained that he did not fire a gun that day, but was charged with third-degree murder and eventually sentenced to 30 to 100 years in state prison.

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