Podcast News·TRANSCRIPTS

THE AFRICAS VS. AMERICA: Transcripts | Listen

In 1985, at the height of the Black Power era, police dropped a bomb in a Philadelphia neighborhood. Their target? A family of Black radicals known as ‘MOVE,’ who found themselves ensnared in a city — and nation’s — domestic war on Black Liberation. Over seven episodes, host Matthew Amha investigates the events that culminated in the MOVE bombing, and the long afterlife of a forgotten American tragedy.

Find all available episodes & follow the show

The Africa's vs America episode transcripts written in red white and blue on grey background with images of burning buildings, helicopters and an American flag
The Africa's vs America episode transcripts image (Yannick Lowery)

In 1985, at the height of the Black Power era, police dropped a bomb in a Philadelphia neighborhood. Their target? A family of Black radicals known as 'MOVE,' who found themselves ensnared in a city — and nation's — domestic war on Black Liberation. Over seven episodes, host Matthew Amha investigates the events that culminated in the MOVE bombing, and the long afterlife of a forgotten American tragedy.

For a full list of production credits, scroll to the bottom of this page.

Hear the trailer


Episode 1: Mother's Day

In the early hours of May 13, 1985, police direct residents of Osage Avenue in West Philadelphia to leave their homes, and not return for 24 hours. It's Mother's Day, and authorities have come to resolve a years-long conflict with a family of local revolutionaries — the Africas, collectively known as MOVE. There are 13 people in the Africa home that morning. Six of them are children. By the end of the day, most will be dead, and a neighbourhood will lie in ruins.

Access the transcript for Episode 1 here.

Episode 2: The Making of John Africa (GI John)

A quiet and reclusive young man is conscripted to war in Korea and returns having been made anew. Vincent Leaphart becomes the enigmatic John Africa, whose revolutionary vision will prove irresistible to followers seeking a new way of living. But what begins as a movement concerned with the protection of all life, will gradually turn to nonviolent direct action and large-scale civil disobedience in reaction to the state. This is the origin story of John Africa, leader of what will soon become known as MOVE.

Access the transcript for Episode 2 here.

Episode 3: The Toughest Cop In America

By the 1970s, both local and federal law enforcement have perfected a system to subvert and neutralize Black liberation movements across the United States. The civil rights movement has been uprooted, and Black Power is now here. In Philadelphia, the most famous police officer in America is elected mayor. Frank Rizzo's objective is to turn the city into centre stage in the nationwide fight against Black liberation activists. His power and influence will have deep implications for MOVE.

Access the transcript for Episode 3 here.

Episode 4: The Commissioner's Gambit

Complaints from neighbours about MOVE's lifestyle lead to increasingly violent clashes with police. One confrontation turns deadly, and by 1978, relations between MOVE and city authorities have reached a crisis point. The MOVE home in residential Powelton Village becomes the scene of a two-months-long starvation blockade, and the site of a stand-off with police that will end in blood, gunfire, and the arrest of nine members of MOVE, collectively charged with murder for the death of an officer.

Access the transcript for Episode 4 here.

Episode 5: MOVE on Trial

The MOVE 9 are catapulted into the international spotlight, facing more than 900 years between them for the death of Officer James Ramp — a crime for which they maintain their innocence. Central to the case is a former Black Panther and Vietnam vet named Delbert Africa, who will become a symbol of police brutality in Philadelphia. As all of this is happening, MOVE's mysterious leader John Africa is on the run from local and federal authorities. When he's finally found and brought up on charges, John Africa opts to represent himself in court, and an old friend takes the stand against him.

Access the transcript for Episode 5 here.

Episode 6: Hellfire

In 1983, the City of Philadelphia elects its first Black mayor as successor to Frank Rizzo. Woodrow Wilson Goode inherits Rizzo's fight against MOVE, but he also represents a moment of hope for Black Philadelphians who believe his election could be a harbinger of progress for a city beset with racial strife. Instead, Mayor Goode's administration unleashes a torrent of violence never before seen in American history in an effort to neutralize MOVE once and for all.

Access the transcript for Episode 6 here.

Episode 7: Elegy

After a commission finds that city officials and police were negligent in their actions on May 13, 1985, a reeling city looks to heal, and surviving members of the Africa family redouble efforts to free the MOVE 9. Two senior members are released from prison having served more than 40 years. They now have reservations about the MOVE organization. A rift in the family opens up. By the end of 2020, all remaining MOVE 9 are free. Delbert dies only months after his release, and the family now turns its focus to the future. The descendents of MOVE remind us the fight for liberation continues.

Access the transcript for Episode 7 here.

Production Credits

The Africas vs America was produced by CBC Podcasts and Confluential Films.

Host: Matthew Amha
Writers: Matthew Amha and Jessica Linzey
Producers: Matthew Amha, Jessica Linzey and Ilina Ghosh
Story Editor: Daemon Fairless
Sound Design: Evan Kelly
Digital/Coordinating Producer: Emilie Quesnel
Fact-Checker: Emily Mathieu
Senior Producer: Willow Smith
Consulting Producers for Confluential: Tommy Oliver and Keith Gionet
Artwork: Yannick Lowery
Cross Promo Producer: Amanda Cox
Video Producer: Evan Aagaard 
Executive Producers for CBC Podcasts: Cesil Fernandes and Chris Oke
Senior Manager of Audience: Tanya Springer

Special thanks to:
Linn Washington Jr
Walt Palmer
Temple University City Archive
Gary Francis
Julia Wittmann
Graham MacDonald
Leah-Simone Bowen
Esteban Cuevas Gonzales
 


Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

From the finest podcast recommendations to behind the scenes exclusives, CBC's biweekly podcast newsletter brings you the latest in news, events and industry buzz from wide world of podcasts. Hear what sounds good from your favourite podcast creators.

...

The next issue of Sounds Good: CBC’s Podcast Newsletter will soon be in your inbox.

Discover all CBC newsletters in the Subscription Centre.opens new window

now