Apologize for MOVE bombing, Philadelphia

The Editorial Board calls on the city to officially apologize for killing 11 people and destroying dozens of homes in 1985.

Thirty-five years ago today, the Philadelphia Police Department dropped a satchel bomb, a demolition device typically used in combat, laced with Tovex and C-4 explosives on a row of homes on Osage Avenue near 62nd Street, Vox reported.

The result of a multi-year clash between the City of Philadelphia and MOVE, a Black liberation group, the bombing killed 11, destroyed 61 homes and left 250 residents homeless, Vox further reported. What began as an attempt to evict the group ended in a fiery blaze that the city allowed to burn while the bomb’s victims, five of whom were children, were trapped inside, The New York Times reported.

While Mayor Wilson Goode, who authorized the bombing, has since apologized for it, the city has yet to officially issue an apology, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Philadelphia’s City Council may consider a bill later this year to do so, the Inquirer further reported.

The Editorial Board calls on the City of Philadelphia to formally apologize for the MOVE bombing and bolster efforts to educate its citizens about this shameful stain on our city’s history.

The bombings are another milepost in the long history of oppression that African-Americans have faced in the U.S. While not all city residents agreed with MOVE’s principles, Vox reported, it is clear that the city’s police force chose a path that changed the fabric of that neighborhood and the city forever. 

Homes on Osage Avenue are being rebuilt and sold, WHYY reported, and the city should use this moment to educate Philadelphians about this largely-forgotten event and work to reconcile the lifetime-lasting wounds it caused. 

Temple University, too, can educate our student body on the history and longstanding ramifications of the MOVE bombing to provide students with greater context to the racial discrimination in our city. 

But our city must take responsibility for its mistakes and acknowledge the decades-long effects of the MOVE bombing by formally apologizing and taking responsibility for this horrendous action.

An apology can never heal the wounds that the MOVE bombing caused. But it is a good start.

Editor’s Note: The Editorial Board is comprised of the Editor in Chief, Managing Editor, Digital Managing Editor, Chief Copy Editor, Assignments Editor, News Editor and Opinion Editor. The Temple News has not yet hired a News Editor or Opinion Editor for the 2020-21 academic year as of the publication of this editorial.

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