Nine - Histoire de la communauté Move

Menu Back


- Starvation Blockade -

To force the wanted MOVE members from the house, Rizzo got court approval to starve them out. On March 16, 1978, an army of hundreds of cops invaded the neighborhood and sealed off a four block area.

While sharpshooter posts and machine gun nests were set up, workmen shut off the water to MOVE's headquarters. Those inside included pregnant women, nursing babies, children and animals. Rizzo boasted that the perimeter was so tight "a fly couldn't get through." When various community members, who opposed Rizzo's cruel tactic, made humanitarian attempts to rush the barricades with food and water for MOVE, they were arrested and beaten by the police.


With loudspeakers and amplification, members exposed the folly of the city's action in spending thousands of dollars a day on police overtime just to stand around and watch MOVE. As police in stake-out posts at surrounding rooftops, apartments, and parked patrol cars were treated to a steady stream of revolutionary commentary, supervisors instructed their men not to listen to anything MOVE said, after too many officers began to seriously consider what they heard.


There was a great deal of dissention in police ranks regarding the handling of MOVE. Some cops had taken to tossing bottles, rocks, and firecrackers into MOVE's yard, hoping to provoke a confrontation. But it only resulted in a police fist fight wherein two officers got in a scuffle with a third one who had been throwing rocks at MOVE babies.


Rizzo's attempt to starve MOVE out continued for almost two months, capping off nearly a year of continuous 24-hour police surveillance that had begun on May 20, 1977. Traffic had been detoured, neighbors had to show identification going to and from their own homes, and reporters noted that city spending for police overtime had passed the million dollar mark. On April 4, 1978 thousands marched around city hall in a massive demonstration protesting the city's barbaric action. As the absurdity of Rizzo's police siege became internationally known, Philadelphia became an embarrassment to the human rights initiatives of President Jimmy Carter and United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young.


  • ©move.whgbetc
  • ©oxfordaasc
  • ©poweltonvillage
  • ©blackhistorymonth2014
  • ©Urban Archives, Temple University
©move.whgbetc ©oxfordaasc ©poweltonvillage ©blackhistorymonth2014 ©Urban Archives, Temple University

Move's supporter in front of the house of Powelton Village (West Philadelphia, 1978)

The Move house, Powelton village West Philadelphia, 1978

The Move house, Powelton village West Philadelphia, 1978

The Move house, Powelton village West Philadelphia, 1978

Demonstration against Rizzo’s starvation blockade April 4, 1978



Move… Who they are ?

"Video / 6 min / Couleur" ©2011 - "In Prison My Whole Life" de Marc Evans




According to the book "20 years on the Move"

Translation : Claude GUILLAUMAUD for "Just Justice"

Legends Photos : Béatrice KOULAKSSIS and Nadège ARNAULT



David JOYEUX (development)

and Jonathan LERE (webdesign)

Drowings of Move 9 : Tinted Justice Collective


Web hosting

1&1 Internet AG
Brauerstr. 48
76135 Karlsruhe


Thanks to Ramona Africa and the Move family