Reclaiming the past: Oral history and the legacy of integration in West Mount Airy, Philadelphia
In 1992, West Mount Airy Neighbors (WMAN), a Philadelphia community organization, embarked on an oral history project designed to capture the history of local efforts, beginning in the 1950s, to create and foster racial integration in the neighborhood. The project was designed to build a consciousness about the region's past among current residents, in order to bring homeowners together and heighten community cohesion at a time when various social and economic forces threatened neighborhood viability. But even as WMAN saw the project as an opportunity to effect contemporary grassroots change, the group used the emerging narrative to reinforce an official version of the neighborhood's historical efforts toward integration. Through the oral history project, WMAN developed a sanctioned and sanitized memory of the community, one that positioned the longtime organization to assert control over the scope of change going forward. © 2014 The Author.
Oral History Review
First Page Number
Last Page Number
Perkiss, Abigail, "Reclaiming the past: Oral history and the legacy of integration in West Mount Airy, Philadelphia" (2014). Kean Publications. 2027.