An Ivy League university that preserved the bones of a black boy killed by the police for use in its investigation and which were also later used as a “case study” in an online forensic anthropology course has apologized for its actions. .
The physical remains of one of the children who died in the bombing of the black liberation organization Move in Philadelphia in May 1985 have been in the anthropological collections of the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton for the past 36 years.
Institutions have clung to the heavily burned fragments and since 2019 have been deploying them for educational purposes without the permission of the living parents of the deceased. The remains have never been identified with certainty, but they almost certainly belong to one of the older Move girls who died in hell: Tree Africa, 14, and Delisha Africa, 12. All Move members bear the surname Africa. they denote their collective commitment to black liberation.
In a statement sent to his faculty, Penn’s senior leaders apologized.
“The Penn Museum and the University of Pennsylvania apologize to Africa’s family and members of our community for allowing the human remains recovered from the MOVE home to be used for research and teaching, and for holding the remains for too long,” said the statement, which was from Chancellor Wendell Pritchett and Christopher Woods, director of the Museum of Archeology and Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania.
He added: “The Museum has promised to re-evaluate our human remains collection, management, display and research practices, and we are committed to this promise. However, it is now obvious that this reassessment must also include how human remains are used in teaching, as well as a comprehensive review of the holdings and collection practices of our Physical Anthropology section. “
The university’s disclosure of the possession and use of bones comes as Philadelphia prepares to celebrate its first official memorial day for the bombing, following a formal apology issued last year.
A Penn anthropologist acquired the remains after he was asked to provide expert advice to the Philadelphia medical examiner in an attempt to identify the fragments. The academic later kept the bones and took them back in 2001 when he moved to Princeton.
The disclosure was first reported by a local media outlet. Billy penn. The revelations sparked outrage, especially in the context of the racial reckoning across America in the wake of George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis last year by white police officer Derek Chauvin.
In their statement, Penn officials acknowledged the emotional damage their treatment of the remains had caused.
“We must constantly bear in mind the fact that human remains were once living people, and we must always strive to treat them with the dignity and respect they deserve,” he said.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism