A Philadelphia 1st we’d rather forget

The Bombing Of Osage Avenue – YouTube

I shall forever associate Mother’s Day, with the horrid memory of the Bombing of Osage Avenue, May 13, 1985. I was with my mother, on our way to dinner in center city, when the news came over the airwaves of WDASfm radio. We pulled over to listen to the broadcast, because traffic began to back up, because the sky began to turn black with smoke, and because we were unable to just continue with our day. I no longer remember whether we made it to dinner that day or how long it took us to finally make it home. I do remember watching the live broadcast, my heart growing heavier as events unfolded, and the death toll rose, thinking, “How could this happen?” I had visited friends who lived right next door to the MOVE organization, so I know first hand that frequent pronouncements over their loud speakers had become an extreme nuisance for the neighbors. But bombing people because they were a nuisance?

The Osage Avenue bombing is eerily similar to another horrific incident in Philadelphia history. On May 17th, 1838, Pennsylvania Hall was burned to the ground by an angry mob of pro-slavery protestors, enraged by an abolitionist gathering, as Philadelphia citizens, policemen and firemen stood by and Let it burn.

Freedom, Fire & Promiscuous Meetings

Nadine Patterson (Filmmaker/Photographer) curated the exhibit Freedom, Fire, Promiscuous Meetings: the Philadelphia Community Lyceum (April 5 – May 18) at the Painted Bride Art Center in Philadelphia. The exhibit serves as a public forum for the Bride-commissioned play If She Stood.

Every Mother’s Day, there invariably comes a moment in the day when I remember. And now, on yet another anniversary of the bombing, I ask myself, “How can we let this be forgotten?”


The Bombing Of Osage Avenue – (1986)  YouTube



Twenty-six years later, MOVE bombing questions remain, lives still shattered



1985 bombing in Philadelphia still unsettled – by Martha T. Moore, USA TODAY



MOVE: An Oral History

Michael Nutter, current mayor: “In the late ’70s, there were various public activities involving MOVE. I was studying at Penn, and really only generally aware of them.” –from MOVE: An Oral History.


25 Years Ago: Philadelphia Police Bombs MOVE Headquarters Killing 11, Destroying 65 Homes – May13, 2010

Philadelphia MOVE Bombing Still Haunts Survivors by Laura Sullivan, May 13, 2005



Ramona Africa: The Historical Account of The MOVE Bombing in PhiladelphiaThe Wombman’s Song Community


About Storymama01

Professional Storyteller, Blogger, Teaching Folk Artist, Cultural Curator, Consultant, History Lover, Humanist
This entry was posted in culture and politics, history, humanities, Public History and Memory and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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