Phil Africa of MOVE dies under suspicious circumstances in Pennsylvania prison

“It is with great sadness and anger at the state and all those responsible for his death that we announce the passing of our brother and comrade, the beloved MOVE member and artist, Phil Africa. We extend our deepest condolences, solidarity and love to Phil’s closest family, the MOVE organization, to his wife, Janine Africa, and the rest of the MOVE 9. We stand prepared for the struggle ahead to expose the plan the state has to just kill our sisters and brothers rather than face their total innocence and the imperative of having them granted parole immediately. We say ‘NO!’ to that evil plan.” – The Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition

by Ramona Africa

Phil Africa
Phil Africa

On Saturday, Jan. 10, 2015, Phil Africa, revolutionary, John Africa’s first minister of defense and beloved brother, husband and father, passed away under suspicious circumstances at the State Correctional Institution at Dallas, Penn.

On Sunday, Jan. 4, Phil Africa wasn’t feeling well and went to the prison infirmary. Though he wasn’t feeling well, other inmates saw Phil Africa walking, stretching and doing jumping jacks.

Hearing that Phil was in the infirmary, MOVE members drove up to visit him and were denied a visit by the prison. While they were visiting with Delbert Africa, Phil was secretly transported to Wilkes Barre General Hospital, where he was held in total isolation, incommunicado, for five days.

Prison officials at SCI Dallas wouldn’t communicate about Phil’s condition. They told MOVE that Phil was at Wilkes Barre General Hospital, but the hospital denied he was there and this back and forth lie went on for days, almost the entire time Phil was being held.

The hospital and the prison behaved very suspiciously, denying Phil the ability to call family members or his wife of 44 years, Janine Africa, stating that she was not a blood relative. The hospital and prison received hundreds of phone calls in support of Phil from around the world.

On Saturday, Jan. 10, 2015, Phil Africa, revolutionary, John Africa’s first minister of defense and beloved brother, husband and father, passed away under suspicious circumstances at the State Correctional Institution at Dallas, Penn.

When they finally submitted to pressure and allowed Phil to call Janine on Thursday, Jan. 8, he was heavily drugged, incoherent and couldn’t even hold the phone to talk to her.

On Friday, Jan. 9, Phil was sent back to the prison infirmary and placed in hospice care upon arrival. On Saturday, Jan. 10, Ramona and Carlos Africa were granted permission to visit Phil in the prison infirmary.

MOVE 9
MOVE 9

When they reached him, he was incoherent and couldn’t talk or move his head to look at them. An hour after they left, Delbert called with the news that Phil passed away.

Inmates in the infirmary and others in the prison were shocked when they heard the news. They had witnessed his vigorous health for decades in the prisons, had just seen him stretching and doing jumping jacks six days earlier.

This rapid decline all occurred while he was being literally held incommunicado from his MOVE family at Wilkes Barre General Hospital or Dallas prison or wherever these conspirators were holding him with murderous intent.

The fact that Phil was isolated for the six days before he passed and the prison even refused to acknowledge that he was in the hospital is beyond suspicious.

This is another example of how the system hates MOVE and will do anything to stop MOVE. You can look at the example of Aug. 8, 1978, when the MOVE 9 were illegally imprisoned, and May 13, 1985, when the government dropped a bomb and intentionally murdered 11 MOVE members to see this point clearly.

When Merle Africa died in prison on March 13, 1998, the conditions were very similar. She had been one way in the prison, but within hours of being forced to go to an outside hospital she was dead.

Phil made a deep impression on people all around the world. He was constantly writing, often dozens of letters a day, encouraging solidarity and strength and warmly advising hundreds of people. Phil worked hard to learn to paint and created countless paintings, which he sent to supporters for free to draw attention to issues, get raffled off for the struggle, and bring people together.

Phil made a deep impression on people all around the world. He was constantly writing, often dozens of letters a day, encouraging solidarity and strength.

“MOVE 8” – Art: Kevin “Rashid” Johnson, 1859887, Clements Unit, 9601 Spur 591, Amarillo TX 79107
“MOVE 8” – Art: Kevin “Rashid” Johnson, 1859887, Clements Unit, 9601 Spur 591, Amarillo TX 79107

Phil took his commitment and work as a revolutionary very seriously, but was often smiling, laughing and giving people hugs and encouragement. He was a warm father figure to many in the prison, where he taught inmates how to box, to think, and how to get stronger.

Despite having two of his children murdered by the system and being separated by prison, Phil was a father figure to many. He was separated from his wife Janine for over 36 of the 44 years they were married, but he worked hard to stay connected with her even though they were so callously isolated by the system.

Phil took his commitment and work as a revolutionary very seriously, but was often smiling, laughing and giving people hugs and encouragement.

It’s this system’s intention for MOVE people to die in prison. The MOVE 9 never should have been imprisoned at all, and according to their sentence they should have been paroled over six years ago.

The death of Merle and Phil Africa rests directly at the feet of this government! Phil will never be forgotten and this is not the end.

He is dearly missed, but his strong example should inspire everyone to fight harder for the freedom of the MOVE 9 and all political prisoners. This latest government treachery will be the fuel needed to motivate people to step up the pace for this revolution.

Long live Phil Africa! Long live Merle Africa! Free the Move 9! Long live John Africa!

For more info or to ask how you can help, contact Ramona Africa at OnaMoveLLJA@gmail.com or rebelchild170@aol.com. Ramona is the only adult survivor of the 1985 bombing of MOVE headquarters by Philadelphia police that killed 11 people and destroyed 60 homes.

Free the MOVE 9

Nearly 37 years after the Aug. 8, 1978, confrontation in Philadelphia, the eight remaining “MOVE 9″ prisoners are still being denied parole, after becoming eligible in 2008. MOVE is asking for support in building public pressure for the MOVE 9’s release.

Write to the MOVE 9 and let them know they are remembered:

  • Michael Davis Africa, AM4973, P.O. Box 244, Graterford, PA 19426-244
  • Delbert Orr Africa, AM4985, 1000 Follies Rd., Dallas, PA 18612
  • Edward Goodman Africa, AM4974, 301 Morea Rd., Frackville, PA 17932
  • Charles Sims Africa, AM4975, 660 State Route 11, Hunlock Creek, PA 18621-3136
  • Debbie Sims Africa, 006307, Janet Hollaway Africa, 006308, and Janine Phillips Africa, 006309, 451 Fullerton Ave., Cambridge Springs, PA 16403-1238

MOVE is asking for support in building public pressure for the MOVE 9’s release.

Check out www.move9parole.blogspot.com for more specific information on how to support parole for the MOVE 9.

The MOVE family was bombed in an attempt to stop their work to free all life and, specifically, the MOVE 9. The MOVE 9 are still incarcerated. Let’s bring them home.