Disaster Close to Home

Disaster Close to Home

  • Submitted By: shar318
  • Date Submitted: 11/11/2008 5:07 PM
  • Category: Social Issues
  • Words: 2558
  • Page: 11
  • Views: 1081


Disaster Close to Home: MOVE Bombing in Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Crisis Mental Health and Disaster Response

Summer 2008

Ashara C.A. Cashaw, MSW

Disaster Close to Home: MOVE Bombing in Philadelphia, PA


On May 13th 1985 the citizens of a West Philadelphia neighborhood experienced a technological disaster of horrific proportion. The bombing and subsequent six alarm blaze in their residential community ended with human fatalities and the destruction of over sixty homes. Efforts to rebuild this community in the ensuing years were filled with systematic failures including embezzlement, faulty construction and government ultimatums that inflicted on-going trauma to the surviving members of the community. This application project will provide a brief overview of the climate in this neighborhood pre-disaster, the impact of the disaster on surviving citizens and the quality of the aide provided to help the community rebuild and recover. Finally, writer will provide personal reactions to the disaster researched, as well as personal reflections on experiences growing up near the affected neighborhood.

Background Information: MOVE Organization

In order to understand the events leading up to the tragic loss of lives and property in 1985, it is necessary to review the history of the MOVE organization and their involvement with local government. The MOVE organization was founded in the 1970s by Vincent Lopez Leapheart and Donald Glassey as a religious sect named American Christian Movement for Life (Nagel, 1991). Leaphart espoused a back-to-nature philosophy that focused on reverence of all animal life and rejection of mainstream American lifestyle (Nagel, 1991). The predominantly African-American group rejected “the system” by adopting the surname Africa and fellowshipped in a large Victorian home in the Powelton Village section of West...

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