Wilson Goode Sr. ‘Accepts Responsibility' for MOVE Bombing at Street Naming Ceremony

A section of 59th Street in Overbrook is now named for former Philadelphia Mayor Wilson Goode Sr. Friday's ceremony was met with protests and an admission from Goode.

What to Know

  • A section of 59th Street in Overbrook is now named for former Philadelphia Mayor Wilson Goode Sr.
  • An emotional Goode accepted responsibility for the deadly MOVE bombing in 1985 as protesters chanted behind him at the naming ceremony.
  • Goode, 80, says he hopes people look at his entire record, not just the MOVE bombing.

Former Philadelphia Mayor Wilson Goode Sr. "accepted responsibility" for the 1985 MOVE bombing and asked that he not be defined by one terrible day of his life as protesters chanted behind him at a street naming ceremony Friday.

W. Wilson Goode Sr. Way now runs along 59th Street between City and Overbrook Avenues in Overbrook Park, near where Goode lives.

Goode and other dignitaries took part in Friday morning's event as demonstrators shouted their displeasure about having a street named for Goode. Some protesters chanted "murderer" as Goode spoke.

A section of 59th Street in Philadelphia is set to be named for former Mayor Wilson Goode Sr. and not everyone is happy about the honor.

Goode was the city's first black mayor, a Democrat who served from 1984 to 1992. But he's most remembered for the deadly MOVE bombing, which happened under his leadership.

“There’s still a lot of pain, there’s still a lot of unresolved issues,” community activist Maisha Sullivan-Ongoza said ahead of the ceremony.

On Friday Goode said, "I accept responsibility... I was mayor that day. It happened on my watch."

Despite his admission Friday, Goode remained somewhat defiant.

"You will not define me by one day in my life," Goode said.

An emotional Goode promised to speak with demonstrators if they would speak with him, turning toward a police line and directly addressing them during his speech. "I was responsible," he repeated three times to those shouting at him.

"I grieve for the children who died, I grieved for the adults who died," Goode said Friday.

The now 80-year-old told NBC10 he hopes people take into account his entire career as mayor not just the 1985 police bombing of MOVE headquarters that killed 11 people, including children, and destroyed dozens of row homes.

“I would hope they would objectively look at this and say ‘Dr. Goode, former Mayor Goode, is a good man, he’s a decent man,’ who worked every day of his life to do good for the people of Philadelphia” Goode said ahead of the ceremony.

As protesters surrounded the street sign, some threatening to tear it down, following the ceremony Friday, Goode walked to his nearby home. No word if Goode and the demonstrators will have a meeting.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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