My name is Phil Africa, I’m from Philadelphia and one of 13 children born to Frank and Maude Phillips. I’m a high school graduate and capable in a number of trades. Altho I’ve been involved in street life since a early age I was never arrested for anything until adult life, not that I was into anything other than growing up poor, in a big family in materialistic, racist 50-60’s America.
As most kids I ran the streets, partied, and played sports in my early teens.
At the age of 16 I was into drinkin, smokin cigarettes, weed, and had my first real contact with the racism of the Philadelphia police. I came to the defense of my older brother who had been stopped coming out of a check cashing place by cops. He was jacked up by them and they said “What is a young nigga doin with that kinda money,” when I stepped forward from the crowd of scared adults, who’d come to “watch” victimize another young Blackman. I attempted to explain how my brother had just cashed his check from workin at the PGA Hospital. Instead of the cops listening to what I had to say, I was snatched up by the neck by this big white boot cop (I was 14 or 15 at the time), told to “face the wall nigga,” at which point the cop proceeded to kick me once in the balls so hard I couldn’t breathe or scream out in pain! I was simply told to “get my Black ass home before I got what my brother was gone get” and as I laid on the pavement they put my brother in their car and drove off.
By this time I reached high school I was drinkin, smokin, sellin drugs, workin and a complete victim to the addictions of the streets this system use to enslave folk to it’s destructive ways.
In my last year of high school I began to feel a need to make some changes in my life. With the Vietnam War goin on, the Civil Rights Struggle, the Black Power Movements poppin up I began to look in more areas for some direction in my life, some solution to the problems I had cause I realized my life was full of complexes, insecurities, depression, hates, and questions. I knew I was on a self-destructive course where at one point I felt I’d never live to see 16, 18, 21 years of age! It’s how I and those around me were living at the time.
I looked to religions, the streets, drugs, education, the different Black movements, at the time, but found none able to offer the inner peace I sought, give me security of direction or give me answers to my questions.
In the early 1970’s I moved to a Powelton Village apartment around the corner from the MOVE Headquarters. I had no idea who or what “MOVE” was, who the man “JOHN AFRICA” was, however right away I saw a difference in these people called “MOVE,” a confidence, health, warmth, strength, security vibrated from them! They worked as a family everything they did and the information they spoke when talked to, “The Teachin” they called “MOVE Law,” the clarity of it, the absolute power of it reflected the source of it JOHN AFRICA! Long Live JOHN AFRICA!
The attraction, the pull on me to MOVE is as profound now as it was almost 30 years ago, in fact it is even more so now!
As one of the MOVE 9 I’ve been unjustly imprisoned since August 8, 1978. I’ve been thru both of the Camp Hill riots in ’83 and ’89 and have spent half of those 19 years in the hole-solitary confinement.
At the present time our P.C.R.A. appeals were denied and we are preparing to appeal to the Federal Courts. We do not expect “justice” from this system as JOHN AFRICA explain, this system ain’t got justice to give cause this system ain’t just, ain’t right!
JOHN AFRICA expose how this system can be made to do what’s needed when it is pressured to. Pressure-massive pressure is what the people must put on this system to save Mumia, end the death penalty, Free the MOVE 9 and all P.P.s and P.O.W.s-and most importantly, work with MOVE to bring about the end of this rotten reform world system!
Long Live JOHN AFRICA! On the MOVE!