Re-Member MOVE: The Anatomy of a Reconciliation

Pauline B. Thompson, Ulysses Slaughter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


On May 13, 1985, Philadelphia city officials authorized the dropping of a bomb on a house in a residential neighborhood, killing 11 people of the MOVE organization—including five children—destroying 61 homes and rendering nearly 250 residents homeless. The years leading up to this tragedy involved multiple instances of police brutality, one of which resulted in the more than 40-year incarceration of nine MOVE members (commonly known as the MOVE 9). In this first-person account, we review literature on reconciliation and apologies, explore the value of reconciliation in community psychology, and reflect on our involvement as a reconciliation strategist and a community psychologist in initiating, developing and facilitating a reconciliation process. A model of iterative reconciliation as a creative multilevel and multipurpose tool relevant for community psychology is proposed. The reconciliation process began in September 2018 between key players involved with the MOVE organization and Philadelphia officials and community members and family and involved multiple community gatherings and conversations with many stakeholders. Ultimately, through the extensive reconciliation process, the authors facilitated the issuing of an apology on May 13, 2020 by the Council of the City of Philadelphia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)130-141
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Community Psychology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Mar 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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