On Friday, June 4, the remains of two Black girls, Delisha and Katricia “Tree” Africa, were to be collected from the home of physical anthropologist Alan Mann, an emeritus professor associated with both the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton University. Delisha and Tree were members of the Black liberation community in Philadelphia known as the MOVE. On May 13, 1985, Philadelphia police officers fired thousands of shot and grenades at 5:30 in the morning, peppering the row house where this communal organization resided. The assault concluded with a bomb dropped on the house from a police aircraft. Philadelphia fire fighters were present at the scene of the bombing and took no action as the rowhouse and sixty other homes burned to the ground. In the ashes were the remains of eleven Black members of the MOVE, including Delisha and Tree’s remains.
How did these two Black girls’ bones wind up in an emeritus professor’s home after being the property of either the University of Pennsylvania or Princeton University for twenty-five years?
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