Decades After Police Bombing, Philadelphians ‘Sickened’ by Handling of Victim’s BonesBreaking News
tags: racism, African American history, Police, Philadelphia, MOVE Bombing
In the early evening of May 13, 1985, the police flew a helicopter over a crowded West Philadelphia neighborhood and dropped a bomb on the rowhouse where members of the communal, anti-government group MOVE lived.
The bomb started a fire, and the police ordered firefighters to let it burn. Eleven people, including five children, were killed, and more than 60 nearby homes were destroyed.
The pain of that day never left for many Philadelphians, a scarring memory of how the police caused a middle-class, mostly Black neighborhood to burn.
This week, the anguish came surging back when officials at two Ivy League universities acknowledged that anthropologists had been passing the bones of a young bombing victim between them for the last 36 years. The bones were also featured in a video for an online course, “Real Bones: Adventures in Forensic Anthropology,” taught by a University of Pennsylvania professor and offered by Princeton.
“I was sickened and almost in shock,” said Jamie Gauthier, a member of the Philadelphia City Council, which apologized for the bombing last year. “It’s just an unbelievable amount of disrespect for Black life and an unbelievable amount of disrespect for a child who suffered trauma, a child who was killed by her own government.”
Mike Africa Jr., an activist, writer and member of MOVE who was 6 when the bomb was dropped, said he and others in the group did not know the bones — parts of a burned femur and a pelvis — had been used in the video and kept for decades by anthropologists.
He said he learned about the bones only days ago from an activist, Abdul-Aliy Muhammad, who wrote an opinion piece published on Wednesday by The Philadelphia Inquirer calling for the bones to be returned to MOVE. The same day, the news site Billy Penn reported that the remains had been kept in a cardboard box on a shelf.
comments powered by Disqus
- The Debt Ceiling Law is now a Tool of Partisan Political Power; Abolish It
- Amitai Etzioni, Theorist of Communitarianism, Dies at 94
- Kagan, Sotomayor Join SCOTUS Cons in Sticking it to Unions
- New Evidence: Rehnquist Pretty Much OK with Plessy v. Ferguson
- Ohio Unions Link Academic Freedom and the Freedom to Strike
- First Round of Obama Administration Oral Histories Focus on Political Fault Lines and Policy Tradeoffs
- The Tulsa Race Massacre was an Attack on Black People; Rebuilding Policies were an Attack on Black Wealth
- British Universities are Researching Ties to Slavery. Conservative Alumni Say "Enough"
- Martha Hodes Reconstructs Her Memory of a 1970 Hijacking
- Jeremi Suri: Texas Higher Ed Conflict "Doesn't Have to Be This Way"
- New transcript of Ayn Rand at West Point in 1974 shows she claimed “savage" Indians had no right to live here just because they were born here
- The Mexican War Suggests Ukraine May End Up Conceding Crimea. World War I Suggests the Price May Be Tragic if it Doesn't
- The Vietnam War Crimes You Never Heard Of