Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Osage Avenue, 25 years later

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.

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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About this blog

Kia Gregory is a staff writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer. She's a proud native of the city and an alumna of Temple University. Contact Kia by e-mail by clicking here, or by phone at 215-854-2601.


Vernon Clark, a staff writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer, has reported extensively neighborhood issues in North and Northwest Philadelphia. Vernon has also been an editor for the Inquirer and has worked as an editor and writer at the Boston Globe and Akron Beacon Journal. Contact Vernon by e-mail by clicking here, or by phone at 215-854-5717.

Kia Gregory & Vernon Clark
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