Saturday, November 28, 2015

MOVE: Devastation on Osage Avenue

Devastation on Osage Avenue
Standing behind her white security door, Nadine Foskey peers down the 6200 block of Osage Avenue. "Look at it," she says, tapping her fingernail on the glass. The 17 boarded-up houses are markers of neighbors who have died or fled.
As I reflect on the 30th anniversary of the standoff between MOVE and the Philadelphia Police Department, it stands as a dark day in my life and the life of this great city. But, unlike some who want to make it my Waterloo, it was not a defining day in my
May 13 marks the 30th anniversary of a dark day in Philadelphia's history - an event that captured much national attention at the time but seems largely forgotten now, except by those who personally lived it.

The beginnings of MOVE and the Powelton Village confrontation

After the shootout at Powelton village, MOVE members settled at 6221 Osage Avenue and continued their protest on the trial of 9 members for third-degree murder.

On May 13, 1985, the Philadelphia police surrounded the MOVE house at 6221 Osage Ave., fired off thousands of rounds of ammunition and poured a deluge of water on the roof. At 5:27 p.m., a bomb was dropped on the roof and ignited a fire. The resulting fire destroyed 61 homes and killed six adults and five children in the house.
TIMELINE: The confrontation on May 13, 1985
Click through the sequence of events.
Tap through the sequence of events.
SOURCES: Report of the Grand Jury, Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County; The MOVE Commission Report; Inquirer Archives

After the bombing, the fire and the recovery, the MOVE commission conducted hearings on the deadly confrontation and the city rebuilt the blocks for residents.

Decades after the bombing and the fire, residents of Osage and Pine, public officials and MOVE members are still coming to terms with the devastation on May 13, 1985.

Related coverage
Since the May 13, 1985, MOVE disaster, the residents on the 6200 block of Osage Avenue have been victimized over and over again, their homes destroyed, their community devastated, their lives upended.