Malcolm X Commemoration Committee Press Statement Condemns ‘Theft’ of Remains of MOVE Children!

Demands Full Reparations for the Move Family and for African Descendents

An entire neighborhood destroyed when police dropped a bomb on the MOVE house in Philadelphia, 1985
An entire neighborhood destroyed when police dropped a bomb on the MOVE house in Philadelphia, 1985. | Photo: AP/George Widman

By Zayid Muhammad, Malcolm X Commemoration Committee

When Bombing A Black Family, Killing Defenseless Men Women and Children and Destroying an Entire Neighborhood is not enough!…

Their names were Delisha Africa and Tree Africa. They were human beings. They were children. They were horribly killed in an act of one of the most callous disregard for any and all Black life of the Modern Era…The bombing of their home by the City of Philadelphia on May 13th 1985!

Malcolm X Commemoration Committee is appalled beyond words to learn that the remains of these children were not turned over to their surviving family members so that they could be peacefully put to rest with dignity, a dignity that they were denied in life; that they were instead passed between institutions to be ‘studied’ in the name of ‘Forensic Anthropology’!

We wholeheartedly condemn the City of Philadelphia, the State of Pennsylvania, Princeton University and Penn Museum for their colossal disregard for the remains of ‘our’ children!

We angrily say that just as the crime of bombing the MOVE family, killing men women and children and destroying a neighborhood ought to be characterized as a crime against humanity in the long line and chain of abuses that still grow out the epic brutality of the TransAtlantic Slave Trade of African people and the systematic residual oppression and discrimination that African people continue to face all over the world, so too must this theft and the exploitation of the remains of these children also be treated as such!

We say further that this crime against humanity belongs in the same haunting conversation as enslaved Black children, known then pejoratively as pickaninnies, who were once fed to alligators as bait in the Florida straits. This belongs in the same conversation as Black women being brutally exploited by the so-called Father of Gynecology, J. Marion Sims, who operated on captive Black women without anesthesia and certainly without any consent. It belongs in the same conversation as the covert sterilization of Black and Puerto Rican women, something making an ugly reappearance again in American prisons. It belongs in the same conversation as the Zoo and Museum objectification displaying of women like Sarah Baartman, in a grotesque and horrific display of her sexuality. It belongs in the same conversation as the injection of Black men with Syphilis that was once euphemistically hailed as the Tuskegee ‘Experiment.’

This indeed is a callous sinister expression of contemporary Medical Apartheid and must be universally condemned by all who are genuinely concerned with Human Rights to the highest order.

In this the sixth year of the International Decade of People of African Descent, the Malcolm X Commemoration Committee vows to share the outrage of this decadent story far and wide and totally unites with the six demands of the MOVE family as indicated below, and would even suggest a seventh…That any Independent investigation done on this criminal theft of these childrens’ remains be done by an Independent International Tribunal directly tied to the United Nations Human Rights Council!

We call on all of our allies to do the same and continue to push the margins to the furthest ends of that bonelittered Middle Passage sea that is the Atlantic Ocean on the question of Reparations for our people in a bold uncompromising united front now!

Justice for Delisha Africa! Justice for Tree Africa! Justice for the MOVE Family!

Reparations Now!


  • The immediate return of the remains of Delisha Africa and Tree Africa to The MOVE Family.  \
  • An immediate apology by the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, the Penn Museum, and Coursera to The MOVE Family and the Black community of Philadelphia for this racist and abhorrent behavior.
  •  Financial reparations to The MOVE Family for the continued harm and trauma caused by Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania, the Penn Museum, and Coursera, for the profits made by the use of our relatives as teaching tools and research objects.
  • The immediate removal of all online content in which these remains are used, including the online course Real Bones taught by Janet Monge.
  •  The termination of Janet Monge from her role as curator at the Penn Museum and faculty in the department of anthropology.
  • The creation of a transparent, public investigation led by a MOVE-approved investigator and funded by the Universities, into how these remains ended up in the Museum’s possession over the past 35 years.

For more information about the press conference today, call Janine Africa at 610 704 4524. For more information about the work of the Malcolm X Commemoration Committee, please call 973 202 0745.

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