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Making Good NeighborsCivil Rights, Liberalism, and Integration in Postwar Philadelphia$
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Abigail Perkiss

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780801452284

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801452284.001.0001

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Finding Capital in Diversity

Finding Capital in Diversity

The Creation of Racially Integrated Space

(p.31) Chapter 2 Finding Capital in Diversity
Making Good Neighbors

Abigail Perkiss

Cornell University Press

This chapter discusses the success of West Mount Airy residents and leaders in making their community economically stable and racially integrated. Throughout the 1950s, integrationist leaders guided residents through the complicated process of developing an experiment in interracial living in northwest Philadelphia. In West Mount Airy, leaders created reform movements predicated on a strategy of grassroots moral liberalism that relied upon both individual persuasion and structural accountability. One of these movements was initiated by a group of Mount Airy homeowners, led by clergy from religious institutions from four areas. The group presented findings from census data, city charters, religious texts and other studies to support the idea that a racially mixed neighborhood was both sustainable and desirable.

Keywords:   West Mount Airy, integrationist leaders, interracial living, homeowners, racially mixed neighborhood

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