Chuck Sims Africa is a member of the black liberation group MOVE and part of the MOVE 9, nine MOVE members all falsely accused for the murder of a police officer who was shot by friendly fire when the Philadelphia police raided their house.
Chuck was born in Philadelphia, PA, in 1959 and was raised in West Philly. He has three sisters and a brother and grew up in the projects.
My mother and father were divorced and I remember him briefly when I was about three or four. We settled down the bottom or “black bottom” on 39th and Reno Street.
My grandfather (who also lived with us) died in 1972. At that time I thought he was the smartest person I had talked with. He talked about history and the second World War a lot. He told me about current events and was particularly fond of Angela Davis. I was always in search of knowledge and I wanted to be a part of something. I was never close to anyone in my family. Being the oldest male of the house, I was the “man of the house.” I used to “take orders” at the supermarket on Lancaster Ave. To try to make money when I was young and also sold papers. Later on I got into stealing and robbing.
I remember seeing the Black Panther Party marching past our house and all through the neighborhood. Young dudes with rifles and shotguns flipping over police cars was a sight that blew my mind. I had never saw anything like it. I was too young to understand what was all going on throughout the country and that was the first time I had saw the BPP. We tried to march with them but our mothers kept us on the block.
I met MOVE in 1973. It was a cold winter night. Me and a few of my gang stepped in my mother’s house and in the middle of the floor sat numerous men and women with long un-combed hair. The things that I heard stayed with me for the rest of my life. I had never heard anything like it. They talked about the court system, educational system, religion, news commentators, they spoke on science, prayer and time. The information they gave us was powerful and had a gripping force on me and my friends and really everybody with its clarity. As I listened I soon understood and witnessed this to be a fact! No one had ever explained the school system and its purpose before I met MOVE. There were things being told to me that I knew were true instinctively but I could never put them into words myself. I was always told all my life to go to school, obey the laws, etc., but never what was the purpose, whose education I was learning or why damn near every co I saw in my neighborhood was white and hostile to use blacks. My introduction to JOHN AFRICA’s Guidelines opened my mind up to actually use it and question the norm, the constraints of every day life, the lies, the hidden truths in a world of constant dishonesty.
MOVE were the most united, together people I had ever met and I felt something coming over me and I knew right from the start that I would be a part of MOVE.
There were more rap sessions or study sessions to come as I met more MOVE people and was being taught and read more of JOHN AFRICA’s Teachings. I went to be around MOVE in 1974 and would work at the car wash with MOVE and eat fresh fruit and vegetables that MOVE kept near its front porch. We all worked hard all day washing cars that we did for donations. It was always a real good family atmosphere whenever we did anything. We did everything as a family. MOVE’s belief is activity, everything on Earth has got to move. We ran our dogs for exercise; we also ran for one hour, then two hours, everyday in rain, sleet or snow as a family around the blocks of the neighborhood and we were in fantastic shape. I had never been in such good condition. We boxed in our exercise room did pull-ups, push-ups, and ran all day in the park. The more I stayed, the stronger I got. I had never met anyone like our COORDINATOR, JOHN AFRICA. The total trust and assurance being in that presence. It’s something that you just had to experience to fully comprehend.