West Mount Airy: Pioneering Racial Integration
June 9, 2014
Guests: Abigail Perkiss, Joan Cannady Countryman, Christie Balka
In the 1950s and 1960s, West Mount Airy became one of the first intentionally-integrated communities in the country.¬† In many places, white residents and realtors were fighting to exclude African-American families.¬† But West Mount Airy was different and became a model for racial integration. ¬†ABIGAIL PERKISS¬†is an historian and Assistant Professor at Kean University in New Jersey.¬† She grew up in West Mount Airy and has written a book about it,¬†Making Good Neighbors: Civil Rights, Liberalism, and Integration in Postwar Philadelphia.¬† JOAN CANNADY COUNTRYMAN¬†was the first African-American student to graduate from Germantown Friends School in the 1950s. And CHRISTIE BALKA¬†grew up in West Mount Airy too; her parents pioneered to create a diverse community.