On the MOVE! My name is Edward (Goodman) Africa. I was born in Philadelphia and raised in a Christian home by both parents-I’m one of six children. I grew up in the streets of Phila., began drinking at the young age of fourteen and went on to drugs (marijuana, speed, pills, and heroin). All by the age of fifteen. I went to jail for the first time in 1963 at the age of sixteen for “receiving stolen goods.” I got out of jail in 1967, but went back every summer after that. I started looking for something Black as I started to believe that all whites were evil. I supported the Black Panthers, the B.L.A. and finally joined the group known as the “Black Muslims.”
I was still involved in street life: stealing, drugs, parties, women, etc…Most of my arrests were between 1967-1973 (when I joined MOVE) were based on getting stopped by cops for nothing and refusing to be searched while being slammed against a car. When I complained, I got roughed up and when I resisted I’d get beat more. Of course I’d end up getting charged with assault and resisting arrest.
As I learned more about this particular Muslim group, I thought I had answers, but I still felt unsatisfied and the racism in me grew. About this time, one of my brothers and my cousin came to visit me in jail. They began telling me of the MOVE Organization, but I refused to listen because MOVE had white members.
I went back and forth with them until finally I had no choice but to admit that what they said was right, I couldn’t deny their understanding. I began to work with MOVE because what they were giving me was more complete than anything I had ever known. I am now a committed MOVE member, a disciple of JOHN AFRICA, LONG LIVE JOHN AFRICA!
My last arrest was on August 8, 1978, I’m one of the MOVE 9. We were each wrongly convicted of murder, assault and conspiracy by the late Judge Edwin S. Malmed and each sentenced to 30-100 years in prison. As of August 8, 2003 we will have served 25 years of that of that outrageous sentence, despite our innocence and despite our appeals. I have four grown children that I left as babies in 1978. I have several grandchildren that I have never been with except briefly on a prison visit. This applies to other members of the MOVE 9 as well. In closing I want to say that I had not intentions of becoming a revolutionary, this system encouraged me, pushed me to become a revolutionary, JOHN AFRICA provided the direction.