May 13, 1985, was one of the most tragic days in the history of Philadelphia. ln an effort to dislodge the troublesome back-to-nature group MOVE, the police department bombed its row house, inadvertently setting off a fire that engulfed two city blocks, displaced 53 families, and killed 11 people. It's hard to imagine that anything good could come out of an event like this, but it did. The MOVE fire served as the catalyst that propelled the fledgling West Philadelphia Improvement Corps into what is now one of the most far-reaching collaborations between an urban university and the schools in its surrounding neighborhood.
Mezzacappa, Dale, "Penn and West Philadelphia" (2001). Partnerships/Community. 19.