Janine Africa and Janet Africa

Janine Africa and Janet Africa. SLL photo: Greg Butterfield

Janine Africa and Janet Africa are two of the surviving MOVE 9 activists who recently won release after decades in prison. They described the hell they went through in Pennsylvania prisons. They and the other MOVE 9 members were beaten by guards.

Upon arriving in prison, Janet and Janine were immediately put in “the hole” — solitary confinement. The warden told them they would stay there and they did stay there for a long time.

In 1985, the women were told that their children had been killed while they were still in solitary confinement. The guards told them their children were dead without further explanation. They had to rely on overheard conversation among other prisoners in the prison yard to glean that the Philadelphia police and FBI had bombed the MOVE house on Osage Avenue on May 13, 1985, killing six adults and five children.

Janine Africa and Janet Africa have not been crushed by the horrendous ordeals they have suffered. They say it is the unbroken solidarity of the MOVE family and support of many others that gave them the strength to survive. 

Janine said: “For 41 years, they have tried to beat us down. They have tried to take our health. They have tried everything to stop us because they couldn’t stop us no other way.

“We have a family that is so strong and supportive. They had our backs and we rode on their strength and that made us strong. We can’t stop talking about it because we know how important that is.  

“We are out here fighting for everybody, whether you are white, Black, Chinese. We know this system is on pins and needles because we are coming out!”

Read about Janine and Janet Africa’s historic visit to Southern California at tinyurl.com/vhhaxr8