*On the morning of August 8, 1978, the Philadelphia Police Department, at the direction of hardline Mayor Frank Rizzo, engaged in a confrontation with the radical Black organization MOVE and fired thousands of rounds of ammunition into the West Philadelphia home of the social justice group. When the smoke cleared, a police officer named James Ramp had been killed and an unarmed MOVE member named Delbert Africa had been beaten to within an inch of his life by three police officers.
Delbert and his wife Debbie Africa were imprisoned for the cop’s death that day. Their son, Mike Africa Jr., has committed his life to finding out the truth about what really happened and fighting for the release of the parents that he has only ever known through prison walls.
His journey is chronicled in HBO’s feature documentary “40 Years a Prisoner,” debuting Tuesday, December 8 (9:00-10:50 p.m. ET/PT). Using eyewitness accounts and archival footage, the film illuminates the story of a city grappling with racial tension and police brutality with alarming topicality and modern-day relevance.
The documentary was directed by Tommy Oliver and executive produced by Common and Get Lifted Film Co.’s Mike Jackson, John Legend and Ty Stikloriusm with original music by The Roots.
Watch the first official trailer below: