Eddie Africa of the #MOVE9 is home after four decades of incarceration

Eddie Africa is welcomed as he emerges from more than 40 years in prison by the lawyers from the Abolitionist Law Center and People’s Law Office on Friday, June 21, 2019.

by Brad Thomson and Bret Grote

Philadelphia – The Abolitionist Law Center and the People’s Law Office are proud to announce that Eddie Africa of the MOVE 9 has been released from state custody after more than 40 years of incarceration. Early on the morning of June 21, Eddie Africa was released from SCI Phoenix after being transferred from SCI Mahanoy, where he spent the majority of his incarceration. He has been fighting for parole for the last 10 years.

The MOVE 9 are nine individuals who were incarcerated following an Aug. 8, 1978, police siege of the MOVE Organization home in West Philadelphia. The MOVE 9 were all sentenced to 30-100 years after the death of an officer during the raid.

This old Associated Press photo shows Eddie Africa with one of his children before he was locked up. His four children and their children have stood with Eddie during all those hellish years.

“Eddie’s release is a victory for him, his family and the movement that has been fighting for his freedom. This is the newest chapter in the decades-long struggle to free all the MOVE 9, which is a struggle that continues with the fight to free Delbert and Chuck Africa, who are both up for parole this year,” explained Brad Thomson.

Eddie is the fifth member of the MOVE 9 to be released on parole, all represented by lawyers from Abolitionist Law Center and People’s Law Office. Like Debbie, Janet, Janine and Mike Africa, who were recently released, Eddie is now able to experience holding his loved ones outside of prison walls for the first time in decades.

Eddie was a father when he was arrested and has four adult children and several grandchildren who he has been able to maintain strong relationships with. Finally, his grandchildren will be able to hug him outside of a prison wall. The release of the MOVE members, after more than 40 years, is the culmination of the work of the MOVE organization, public support, legal action and policy changes.

Two other members of the MOVE 9, Chuck and Delbert Africa, remain incarcerated, while two others, Merle Africa and Phil Africa, died in custody. Abolitionist Law Center and People’s Law Office represent Delbert and Chuck in the struggle for their freedom. To support the fight, you may donate to the MOVE9 Legal Fund.

Brad Thomson of People’s Law Office can be reached at bradjaythomson@gmail.com and Bret Grote of the Abolitionist Law Center at bretgrote@abolitionistlawcenter.org.

Eddie Africa: Free!

Eddie Africa

by Mumia Abu-Jamal

The news came through like a beam in the night: “Eddie Africa has been released today.”

Eddie Africa, MOVE member and survivor of the Aug. 8, 1978, MOVE confrontation in Philadelphia was free. Eddie Africa, after over 40 years in Pennsylvania state and US federal prisons, was home.

The news radiated like heat from a noonday summer sun and men smiled to see their grandchildren for the first time.

Forty years is far more than 40 years if your name is Eddie Africa. That’s because MOVE people face the fury of county and state officials, and that meant a kind of cruelty that most prisoners have never seen nor imagined.

He has survived beatings while handcuffed, and at least one attempt to castrate him. He has been struck by weapons that have ruptured his abdominal wall.

And lest we forget, he has been held in prison for over 40 years, despite evidence of his and other MOVE members innocence of any crime in connection with the MOVE confrontation of Aug. 8, 1978.

That said, Eddie Africa is beloved among prisoners for his positive spirit and his eccentric sense of humor.

Now, Eddie Africa is with his loving family, at home.

From Imprisoned Nation, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.

© Copyright 2019 Mumia Abu-Jamal. Keep updated at www.freemumia.com. Mumia’s latest book is “Murder Incorporated: Empire, Genocide and Manifest Destiny, Book One: Dreaming of Empire” by Mumia Abu-Jamal, Stephen Vittoria and Chris Hedges, published by Prison Radio in 2018. For Mumia’s commentaries, visit www.prisonradio.org. Encourage the media to publish and broadcast Mumia’s commentaries. Send our brother some love and light: Mumia Abu-Jamal, AM 8335, SCI-Mahanoy, 301 Morea Road, Frackville, PA 17932. These commentaries are recorded by Noelle Hanrahan, of Prison Radio. Transcribed from the audio by Fatirah Aziz.