Osage Avenue, 25 years later

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Last week on Osage Avenue, by Kia Gregory

On a mild afternoon, as sunlight broke through the trees, Earnestine Rice swept the sidewalk outside of her home on Osage Avenue. The chore was a small effort, an attempt at normalcy on a block that has become a ghost town.

Almost 25 years ago, a fiery confrontation between MOVE and Philadelphia police ended with 11 MOVE members dead, and a block in ruins.

Despite failed redevelopment efforts, and legal challenges, more than half the houses on the 6200 block of Osage Avenue remain abandoned.

Those dark houses sit like tombs. Their windows are boarded up. Across their doors is a metal, padlocked bar.

For the residents who remain, such blight, they said, has brought drugs and crime to a once stable community. As the 25th anniversary of the confrontation approaches, a band of neighbors, fewer, older, is pleading for the city to do something.

They planned to hold a protest today at City Hall.

Their mantra: "The city just needs to make it right," said Rice.

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