Nine - Histoire de la communauté Move

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- The Agreement -

Under federal pressure to end the stalemate, city officials pushed for a negotiated settlement, but with MOVE standing firm in their demands, the city had no real leverage.

For Rizzo it became a matter of making the necessary concessions, but doing it in such a way that his tough-guy "law and order" image remained intact. The city announced terms of a settlement in May of 1978, though final clarification was still going on behind the scenes. To save face, the city had made certain oral promises that were not spelled out on paper so as to cover up the fact that court procedures would be by-passed to spring MOVE's political prisoners.


MOVE was wary of making deals with a government that had historically broken every treaty ever made with Native Americans. But the final terms of the agree-ment gave them what they wanted, so any broken promises would only further expose the system's deception and lack of good faith. Implementation of the agree-ment began on May 3rd. Escorted by civilian observers, the police took MOVE members, one at a time, to the police administration building where they were arraigned and released on their own recognizance. The barricades and roadblocks surrounding the area were pulled open. To the chagrin of anxious ATF agents, police and DA personnel, all the MOVE "guns" and "explosives" cops had spotted at one time or another were revealed to be inoperable dummy firearms or road flares disguised as dynamite. A search of the house with metal detectors found nothing incriminating. On May 8th, Jerry, Conrad, Robert and Sue Africa were released. The DA's office, headed by Ed Rendell, agreed to dispose of all pending MOVE cases within 4-6 weeks and thereby purge MOVE from the court system. In order to prevent the start of another quagmire of contempt charges, the city ar-ranged that attorney Oscar Gaskins would handle all remaining legal proceedings and members themselves would not make any court appearances. The agreement also provided that during a 90-day period, the city would assist MOVE in finding another location in which to reside.


MOVE's victory was impressive. The confrontation initiated on May 20, 1977 had succeeded, without bloodshed, in freeing their political prisoners and forcing Rizzo's cops to back down. It also provided a powerful example of a fully dedicated and committed group of people fighting the system and winning.


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  • ©Urban Archives, Temple University
  • ©Urban Archives, Temple University
©move.whgbetc ©Urban Archives, Temple University ©Urban Archives, Temple University

Deadlock in the negociations between Community leaders and the police

MOVE talks to negotiator Joel Todd

Merle Africa is escorted from the house May 3, 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



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Drowings of Move 9 : Tinted Justice Collective


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