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date: 28 March 2020

Ward, Michael “Birdie Africa” locked

(19 Dec. 1971 – 20 Sep. 2013),
  • Caryn E. Neumann

Extract

a member of the radical black liberation group MOVE who survived the 1985 fire that destroyed a Philadelphia neighborhood, was born as Oywolffe Momer Puim Ward, the only child of Rhonda Cheryl Harris and Andino R. Ward. The couple separated in 1973 when Andino Ward enlisted in the US Air Force and Harris became a part of MOVE. The boy went with his mother and received the new name of Birdie Africa as part of the family of MOVE founder, John Africa.

In MOVE all members shared the same age, one, and the same last name. They followed John Africa's teachings about the “system” or establishment, as well as his directions about going back to nature and life in general. Ward later categorized the organization as a cult.

John Africa believed that children could thrive on a diet of only raw vegetables so Ward s body grew slowly because ...

A version of this article originally appeared in African American National Biography.

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