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Sunday, September 27, 2020

First of Move 9 Member Released

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Debbie Sims Africa, 61, left Cambridge Springs Prison in Pennsylvania today after nearly 40 years behind bars. She and eight other co-defendants were arrested and sentenced to 30-to-100 years for the August 1978 shooting death of officer James Ramp during a police siege of the group’s communal home.

In 1985, another Move home was firebombed by the city following claims of “terroristic threats.”

Africa, who was pregnant when incarcerated at the age of 22, was reunited with her son, Michael Davis Africa, Jr., who she gave birth to in prison in September 1978.

“Today I had breakfast with my mother for the first time,” said Davis Africa, 39. “There’s so much we haven’t done together.”

A fellow Move member, Merle Africa wasn’t so fortunate. She died in prison in 1998, at age 47. In 2015, Phil Africa died at the age of 59. There are still at least 25 members of Move or The Black Panther Party still behind bars for what was deemed crimes committed in the 1960s and 1970s. They view themselves as political prisoners.

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