From: Sis. Iresha Picot via Sis. Marpessa
A Tribute to a Fallen Warrior: Merle Africa
Merle Austin Africa was the embodiment of
strength, endurance and a welcoming spirit. A
radiant smile was a partner of her commitment. A
Black Woman, a MOVE member. A rebel,
revolutionary. Bright, beautiful, genuine. The perfect sister.
It was thirteen years ago today March 13th, that
Merle passed away at the prison for women in
Northwestern Pennsylvania in Cambridge Springs.
She had been in prison for twenty straight years,
doing a sentence of 30-100 years for essentially
not renouncing the teachings of John African and turning on MOVE.
Merle maintained her innocence along with her
family/co-defendants who 33 years in prison.
Merle was a human being who was the soul of the
family; her laughter was infectious. She must
never be forgotten and in that spirit. I wish to
reach out to all who embrace our sisters for
their enduring spirit and centuries long
dedication to the resistance of racism, misogamy
and all forms of White Supremacy.
Too many of our unsung heroes go unnoticed or
under-appreciated. We do not want Merle in that
category. Merle was robbed of twenty years of her
life. John Africa said if you rob someone of
their life�impose on their contentment, you have
in fact killed that person. She was murdered by the state.
Our concerted efforts to educate must be
relentless as we strive to get justice and
redress for all of these loses. And we must
continue to link Merle's persecution as a
political prisoner and Black Women to all of our
Political Prisoners and Women being oppressed.
Over all objectives is our quest for eventual
freedom for all and our God given right o determine for ourselves.
Merle died on March 13th, thirteen years ago.
Those thirteen years and the date of her death
are significant and eerie by itself. Those
numbers bear a real, historical relation to MOVE
and a chronology that started when MOVE members
were arrested March 13th, 1981; our home bombed
and eleven members murdered May 13th, 1985 and of
course, her death, March 13th 1998.
If this bleak account is disturbing "as it should
be" let us unify our effort wherever we can in
honoring Merle and keeping her spirit alive as we
re-double our efforts to fight for the release of
all political prisoners and prisoners of war and human beings.
Free All Political Prisoners
Chuck Africa & Iresha Picot
(Also check out Sis. Merle's page at