On May 13, 1985, Philadelphia Police dropped a bomb onto a building in a mostly African-American neighborhood, killing eleven people (including five children) and burning down surrounding homes. Hundreds were left homeless.

The bitter narrative that has long dominated this event is one of Philadelphia bombing its own. The truth of the MOVE bombing is far more nuanced. From a certain perspective, the actions of the police were justified, as they were responding to the threat of a local militant group who posed a threat to their neighborhood and had a history of killing police officers. From another perspective, the same militant group, MOVE, were activists responding to the culture of police brutality against minorities that had festered in Philadelphia for decades. 

This site is meant to shed light on an event that grabbed national attention at the time, but has since faded from public memory. It is also meant to show that the bombing did not happen in a vacuum. What happened before and after the bombing is just as important as the bombing itself.

To truly understand why this tragedy occurred, start by exploring the history of MOVE in The Buildup: 1972-1985.

Image citation: Norwood, Lindsey. "The Day Philadelphia Bombed Its Own People". Vox Media, updated August 15, 2019. https://www.vox.com/the-highlight/2019/8/8/20747198/philadelphia-bombing-1985-move