On May 13, 1985, I was living in San Francisco. On that day, a bomb was dropped on a row home on Osage Avenue occupied by 13 members of MOVE, a black liberation group based in Philadelphia. The bomb incinerated 11 African Americans, including five children.
I watched the horror unfold on TV. I was later horrified to learn a black mayor – Wilson S. Goode Sr. – gave the approval for the police to drop the bomb. He also said nothing as firefighters stood by and let the fire burn. In addition to the 11 lives lost, two city blocks were destroyed.
I now live in Philly. Anyone who has lived here longer than a minute knows African Americans remain traumatized by what Goode now dismisses as “one day.” Councilman Curtis Jones Jr. poured salt into an open wound when he quietly introduced a resolution to rename the 2400 block of North 59th Street after Goode. Jones didn’t bother to tell the residents he was renaming their street.
At the street renaming ceremony, Goode said he “accepts responsibility.” Really!? It happened on his watch. Goode is responsible for the senseless killing of 11 people. The little man then proclaimed:
I’m going to man up for what happened on May 13. …You will not define me by one day of my life. I am more than that.
Indeed, he is. He’s an arrogant “child of God” who thinks he can erase history and define his legacy.
Goode will forever be known as the mayor who bombed his constituents, some of whom are still living with the consequences of that fateful day. Milele Sullivan-Gailliard posted on Facebook:
All kinds of PTSD [Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder] symptoms continue with the neighbors. Until this day, if some of them hear helicopters, it causes rashes and hyperventilation. Many of them suffer from Insomnia and still have nightmares. Ramona Africa the only adult MOVE survivor recently had a stroke and was diagnosed with cancer. A cancer that is believed to be related to inhaling the smoke and fumes from the military grade C4 chemical incendiary bomb!
Another neighbor who was not a part of MOVE, who was only 15 at the time, was interviewed on the radio the next day after the street renaming for Mayor Goode, about how his family continues to be impacted by the crimes committed on that day by Governmental officials on hundreds of his neighbors.
Get this: The mayor of the poorest big city in the country said he will replace the sign if it is defaced or taken down. Jim Kenney will continually pour taxpayers’ money down the drain because it’s only a matter of time before the sign is defaced.
With memories of that “one day” still fresh in my mind, I think this is a more accurate representation of Goode’s legacy.