Editor’s note: In anticipation of next’s month’s #OAH2019/#OAH19 in Philadelphia, the March Metro of the Month is the City of Brotherly love. To get more info about the conference click over to the organization’s website, where you can also download the OAH’s program for the event.
“You know how it works in South Philly. Our strength has always been in our numbers.” local barkeep Max tells Philadelphia Eagles hopeful Vincent Papale in 2006’s Invincible. The underemployed Papale, a part-time bartender and substitute teacher, epitomized the downward economic trajectory of his fellow blue-collar white ethnics in 1976. The union was on strike, manufacturing was fleeing the city, and the Eagles were terrible. As the elder Frank Papale exhaustingly proclaims earlier in the film, “A man can only take so much failure.”
Despite the 1976 bicentennial, the city and nation had seen better days; a “crisis of confidence” had struck the nation, President Jimmy Carter would tell Americans in 1979. Though the Papales might not have articulated it in such terms, Philadelphia and the United States were both mired in “collective ‘existential despair.’”
A brogasm of Wahlbergian spectacle, Invincible depicts Philadelphia in all its white working-class patina-tinged glory; Mark Wahlberg’s everyman struggles to earn his place on a dismal Eagles team that resents his amateur presence, yet his plight captures his fellow citizens’ imaginations and attention as the newly appointed head coach, Dick Vermeil (Greg Kinnear), attempts to right a ship that had gone far off course.
As with their team, white, blue-collar Philadelphians similarly found themselves drifting listlessly into economic uncertainty; Wahlberg’s quest for a roster spot at least gave his fellow struggling white ethnics some measure of validation. “You’re one of us,” Max assures Papale. Papale securing a roster spot in the NFL pushed back against the erosion of national and local confidence, or as Carter put it, “the growing doubt about the meaning of our own lives.”
Unsurprisingly, the 1970s offered no shortage of similar takes on the city, the most obvious example being Rocky, a film released the same year as the real-life Papale’s ascent onto the Eagles roster. Its most iconic scene, Rocky Balboa “atop the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art,” was “made possible by the Bicentennial.” Historian Christopher Capozzola writes that “the museum’s renovation” was financed as “part of the city’s Bicentennial cleanup campaign.”
More recently, “Breaking Bad”—and to a far greater extent, “Better Call Saul”—featured the travails of the former Philadelphia cop Mike “No Half Measures” Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks). Ehrmantraut’s character is particularly resonant since the city’s police force helped to define the white blue-collar identity depicted so faithfully in contemporaneous films (such as the aforementioned Rocky and later, nostalgically, in Invincible). “Police work was a blue collar job and tradition, often passed down generation to generation,” notes Timothy Lombardo in his most recent work. “White police officers also shared the blue collar identity that developed in the city’s white working and middle class neighborhood.” Police embodied the identity and at the time, their work literally defended white interests. When White ethnic Philadelphians’ defended of local law enforcement, it only underscored this deeper connection. Officers helped to defend their communities from crime and upheld long-standing values such as tradition, honor, hard work, and law and order.
While the end of the ‘70s remains defined by malaise, during the late 1960s and early 1970s white blue collar Philadelphians enjoyed cultural, and to some extent political ascendency behind the populist and controversial Mayor Frank Rizzo who himself had risen from the ranks of the PPD—first to Chief of Police during the mid-1960s, and later to the city’s highest office in 1972.
Long the junior party to Philadelphia’s WASP elite, the white working class residents envisioned a city remade in their image. Rizzo, described as “a cop’s cop,” embodied the hopes, resentments, and fears of his fellow white ethnics. He decried elites, personified working class masculinity, and criticized civil rights activists through a studied colorblind discourse that understood open displays of racism were no longer politically and socially viable. “If there is one thing I’m not,” he told a local journalist, “it’s against somebody because they are Negro or an Irishman, or anything else.”
The former police chief crafted campaign slogans that effectively conveyed double meanings but steered clear of overt racial appeals. One, “Rizzo Means Business,” promoted his no nonsense blue collar approach and juxtaposed his masculinity against both the effete, pinheaded intellectual class and the burgeoning threat of Black Power activists. It also evoked the kind of “law and order” policies that defended the very neighborhoods inhabited by his supporters. Rizzo understood the value of symbolism, be it appearing at an urban disturbance in a tuxedo with a billy club protruding from his cummerbund or endorsing Richard Nixon and handing the President a lighter emblazoned with Snoopy and the words “Fuck McGovern.”
Yet Frank Rizzo’s ascendency has as much to do with the arc of twentieth century urban history and municipal policies as his combative style. Postwar reformers embraced New Deal municipal programs that promised (and sometimes delivered) benefits to its white residents, but that also reified structural inequalities, particularly in regard to race. “The gulf between the promises and limitations of urban liberalism established the urban crisis that shaped Philadelphia’s long postwar period,” Lombardo points out. Public housing further carved the city’s neighborhoods into racial fiefdoms. Critically, it naturalized white privilege—or, to paraphrase William Upski Wimsatt from his underground 1994 memoir on tagging, Bomb the Suburbs, whites believed that having the proverbial wind at their back was the natural order of things.
When urban decline and deindustrialization began to chip away at metropolitan economies, racial conflicts blossomed into urban tensions and uprisings. When civil rights activists demanded a piece of the share from which they had been denied, white ethnics revolted, embracing their cultural identity and retreating to neighborhoods like Bridesburg, Whitman, and Morrell Park in Greater Northeast Philadelphia.
“‘Defense of the neighborhood’ was at the root of nearly every conflict that contributed to the transformation in white working and middle class politics of the 1960s and 1970s,” writes Lombardo. School integration and busing enabled Philadelphia’s Italian, Irish, and German American residents to organize around the collective identity they had come to define and the communities in which they resided. The Northeast became its own territory. “This isn’t Philly,” one civic leader noted. “This is Bridesburg.”
If police officers represented one distillation of the blue-collar identity, construction work embodied another and also helps to explain how liberal urban policies contributed to the sort of expectations and disappointments that fueled white, blue-collar politics. By the mid-1960s, federal, state, and municipal expenditures on economic development poured over 17 billion into construction coffers; even as the city shed manufacturing employment during the 1950s and 1960s, federal urban renewal programs maintained a steady stream of work.
Attempts to broaden the workforce’s diversity met with resistance. Building and trade unions pushed back against attempts to integrate. “I never said no to a negro,” Joseph Burke of the Sheet Metal Workers told journalists, admitting in the same breath that “We didn’t go out looking for them either.”
Leaders like Burke insisted the union hall promised black construction laborers their best hopes for work, yet refused to acknowledge the ways in which their control over apprentice programs and rules privileging seniority prevented black workers from gaining a real foothold in the industry.
In spite or maybe because of this, the affirmative action plan the city enacted in 1967 became the nation’s first; it would develop into a national model. However, the Nixon administration’s institutionalization of the program had less to do with a sense of concern for the plight of non-white workers but rather, as Jefferson Cowie writes, as a means to outflank “the liberals and … flood the inflation-minded labor market.” Secretary of Labor George Schultz warned that the integration of the building trades would probably “help foment conflict between the two core constituents of the New Deal – labor and blacks.” A conflict that, as historians such as Rick Perlstein and Bruce Schulman contend, the president (and by extension Rizzo) had few qualms about fanning.
Then again, white ethnic blue-collar Philadelphians did not hold a monopoly on identity formation during this period. The city’s gay community also asserted itself, amidst the same forces that produced its full-throated white, working class howl. As historian Kevin J. Mumford notes, the LGBTQ community’s quest for equal protection led to clashes with “religious and racial conservatives who challenged not only their rights but also their legitimacy as a minority.” The process necessitated a reconstruction of identities while “negotiating race relations and extending liberal impulses of the 1960s into the 1980s.” In contrast to the blue-collar revolt that rejected racial compromise and built an identity in opposition to the liberal policies that helped buoy them, the push for LGBT equality worked, with admittedly varying degrees of success, to navigate racial tensions and harness social liberalism rather than repudiate each.
In 1965, the Janus Society conducted sit-ins at a Philadelphia restaurant following an incident in which the manager refused to serve customers on the suspicion of their homosexuality. The protest resulted in several arrests, but more importantly drew publicity for the cause. On July 4th of the same year, Frank Kameny, Barbara Gittings, and Lilli Vincenz, among others, organized the first Annual Reminder demonstration outside Independence Hall emphasizing their rights as citizens. These protests pre-dated the Stonewall Rebellion by several years and helped to lay the groundwork for a more militant Gay Liberation Movement, perhaps best represented by the Gay Liberation Front (GLF), that blossomed during the early 1970s.
In Philadelphia, the GLF established a branch in 1971. Influenced by the Black Power movement, activists began declaring “gay is good” much as Stokely Carmichael coined the slogan “black is beautiful.” Even the Gay Activists Alliance (GAA), which had been critical of BPP’s homophobia and had formed after objecting to the GLF’s attempts to court the local Black Panther Party (BPP), was clearly influenced by Black Power rhetoric. Though perceived as whiter, more academic, and less street oriented, the GAA adopted BPP language in its fliers and memos declaring “gay is angry!” and “gay is proud!”
Despite this apparent convergence in the effort for equal rights, Philadelphia’s black community did not warm to the LGBT movement initially. Homophobia pervaded many of the “rights movements” of the time. Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), feminism, and the New Left all struggled with such bigotry, and the Black Power movement was no exception. Many leading black religious figures criticized efforts by the gay community to establish a city council bill protecting the rights of the homosexual community, both due to their Christianity and worries about “the politics of respectability.” Reverend Melvin Floyd, a former Philadelphia cop who had established Neighborhood Crusade, Inc. and dedicated his life to social uplift, particularly in regard to the black community, questioned the effort. “The one thing about everything else that can destroy that kind of manhood is to come up with a generation or generations of homosexual black males,” he told the council during hearings. He also pointed to one of the LGBT movement’s largest weaknesses, its lack of diversity. “100 percent [of the people] of any organizations of gay rights are white.”
However, there existed a wide diversity of viewpoints on the matter within the larger black community. According to a 1977 Gallup opinion poll, non-whites expressed “slightly more tolerance for homosexuals” than white respondents. Brother Grant Michael Fitzgerald, member of the Catholic religious order Society of the Divine Savior and a black gay activist, defended the bill during the same hearings. Gay men and women should be able to publicly hold hands just as “black people … and interracial couples can do … today,” he told council members. The black newspaper, The Philadelphia Tribune, which admittedly sometimes trafficked in sensationalism when it came to the city’s LGBT community and was not always a reliable ally in this regard, decried Floyd’s remarks as “absurd.”
Rizzo’s hypermasculinity and penchant for saying things such as “I’m going to make Attila the Hun look like a faggot” failed to endear him to the city’s gay residents. The rise of the New Right, Anita Bryant’s homophobic crusades of the 1970s, and Rizzo’s own rhetoric sparked fresh activism in the city such as the formation of Gays at Penn in 1975, which consisted of staff and students at the University of Pennsylvania.
Three years later, behind Reverend James H. Littrell and organized by Penn staff and students, Philadelphia Lesbian and Gay Task Force (PLGTF) was established and it soon aligned itself with the Philadelphia Coalition of Black Gays. During the 1980s lesbian feminist activist Rita Addessa took the helm and the PLGTF launched a new effort to get a major rights bill passed in Philadelphia. The end of Rizzo’s administration, new elections, and a new mayor who publically supported gay rights marked a new day and in 1982 hearings on a new bill went very differently. Granted, the new law, Bill 1358, failed to pass, but the council agreed to amend the Fair Practices Ordinance by adding sexual orientation. Unlike Rizzo and his followers, gay rights advocates, though “slow to grapple with intersections of identity” such that its political base had become too white and too male, still “drew on the long civil rights movement and sought protection from discrimination in what were essentially civil rights statutes,” writes Mumford.
Post-Rizzo Philadelphia, like its football team, struggled as the 1970s ended and the 1980s commenced. The MOVE bombing of 1985 arguably represented its nadir. Though his administration deployed rhetoric and policies favored by the city’s white, blue-collar community, the addition of sexual orientation as a protected class to city statues represented only one aspect of “Rizzocrat” frailty. Throughout the 1970s, deindustrialization was afoot and no amount of rhetoric could change that fact. “Blue collar ascendency did not change the reality of blue collar decline,” writes Lombardo. Even as Rizzo burnished Philly’s white working class bonafides, the ground underneath it had already shifted. “Ironically, Philadelphia’s blue collar reputation emerged just as it was in the midst of a transition to a more white collar and service sector economy.”
As the city stumbled out of the twentieth and into the twenty first century, Philly was, as the kids like to say, very seen. The 1993 movie Philadelphia, starring Tom Hanks as a lawyer named Andrew Beckett who was fired by his firm for both his contraction of HIV and his sexuality, neatly captures the limits of the LGBT community’s success in the city. The only attorney willing to take his case, Joe Miller (Denzel Washington), cannot hide his own homophobia, though much like black leaders in the early 1980s, he too comes around on the issue of sexuality by the film’s conclusion.
Later the nihilistic but often very funny sitcom “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” followed the exploits of “The Gang,” their South Philly Irish bar and their various morally dubious adventures. Silver Linings Playbook came after (2012), continuing the theme of tortured Eagles fans—though no one would describe Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence as distinctly blue collar or particularly ethnic.
Today, Philly is known as much for its ascendant professional sports teams and burgeoning hipster art and music scene as for its white, working class. The War on Drugs epitomizes the latter—hardly a testament to Rizzo’s legacy, though one could argue that the Flyers mascot, Gritty exists as nod to this past. Yet one barely need mention, if you look at our political debates nationally, the late mayor seems to have represented more than just an undercurrent in American politics.
As always, you’ll find our bibliography below, with special thanks to James Wolfinger and Abigail Perkiss for their recommendations. We know it’s incomplete so any book recommendations exploring eighteenth and nineteenth century Philly are very welcome, as are any others we might have missed that examine city during the last and current century. All suggestions welcome in the comments!
|Adams, Carolyn. Philadelphia: Neighborhoods, Division, and Conflict in a Postindustrial City. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1991.|
|Arnold, Stanley. Building the Beloved Community: Philadelphia’s Interracial Civil Rights Organizations and Race Relations, 1930-1970. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2014.|
|Banner-Haley, Charles. To Do Good and To Do Well: Middle-Class Blacks and the Depression, Philadelphia, 1929-1941. New York: Taylor & Francis, 1993.|
|Bauman, John. Public Housing, Race, and Renewal: Urban Planning in Philadelphia, 1920-1974. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1987.
Binzen, Peter, and Joseph R. Daughen. The Cop Who Would Be King: The Honorable Frank Rizzo. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 1977.
Birger, Jon S. “Race, Reaction, and Reform: The Three Rs of Philadelphia School Politics, 1965– 1971.” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 120, no. 3 (July 2006).
|Clark, Dennis. The Irish in Philadelphia: Ten Generations of Urban Experience. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1973.|
|Cole, Peter. Wobblies on the Waterfront: Interracial Unionism in Progressive-Era Philadelphia. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2007.|
|Countryman, Matthew. Up South: Civil Rights and Black Power in Philadelphia. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006.|
|Curry, Leonard. “Philadelphia’s Free Blacks: Two Views.” Journal of Urban History 16, no. 3 (1990): 319-325, https://doi.org/10.1177/009614429001600305
Davis, Allen F. and Mark H. Haller, eds. The Peoples of Philadelphia: A History of Ethnic Groups and Lower-Class Life, 1790-1940. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1973.
|——-. “Making Philadelphia Safe for ‘WFIL-adelphia’: Television, Housing and Defensive Localism in Postwar Philadelphia.” Journal of Urban History 38, no. 1 (2012): 193-213, https://doi.org/10.1177/0096144211420644
Davidow, Julia. “The Crusade is Now Begun in Philadelphia: Municipal Reformers, Southern Moderates and African American Politics.” Journal of Urban History 44, no. 2 (2018): 153-168, https://doi.org/10.1177/0096144217746162
DuBois, W.E.B. The Philadelphia Negro: A Social Study. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1899. Reprint, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1996.
|Feffer, Andrew. “Show Down in City Center: Staging Redevelopment and Citizenship in Bicentennial Philadelphia, 1974-1977.” Journal of Urban History 30, no. 6 (2004): 791-825, DOI: 10.1177/0096144204263814
Ferman, Barbara, Theresa Singleton, and Don DeMarco. “West Mount Airy, Philadelphia.” Cityscape: A Journal of Policy Development and Research 4, no. 2 (1998).
Grant, Elizabeth. “Race and Tourism in America’s First City.” Journal of Urban History 31, no. 6: 850-871.
Heller, Gregory L. Ed Bacon: Planning, Politics and the Building of Modern Philadelphia. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013.
|Hempell, C. Dallett. “Review Essay: Whose City? Whose History?: Three Class Histories of Philadelphia.” Journal of Urban History 33, no. 1 (2006):108-119, https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0096144206291107
Hepp IV, John. The Middle-Class City: Transforming Space and Time in Philadelphia, 1876-1926. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003.
|Hershberg, Theodore, ed. Philadelphia: Work, Space, Family, and Group Experience in the Nineteenth Century. New York: Oxford University Press, 1981.|
|Hillier, Amy. “Who Received Loans? Home Owners’ Loan Corporation Lending and Discrimination in Philadelphia in the 1930s.” Journal of Planning History 2, no. 1 (2003).
——-. “Redlining the Homeowners’ Loan Corporation.” Journal of Urban History 29, no. 4 (2003): 394-420, https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0096144203029004002.
Katz, Michael B., and Thomas J. Sugrue. W. E. B. DuBois, Race, and the City: “The Philadelphia Negro” and Its Legacy. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1998.
Kilbride, Daniel. “The Cosmopolitan South: Privileged Southerners, Philadelphia, and the Fashionable Tour in the Antebellum Era.” Journal of Urban History 26, no. 5 (2000): 563-590, https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/009614420002600501
Knowles, Scott Gabriel, ed. Imagining Philadelphia: Edmund Bacon and the Future of the City. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009.
|Lane, Roger. Roots of Violence in Black Philadelphia, 1860-1900. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1986.
Levenstein, Lisa. A Movement Without Marches: African American Women and the Politics of Poverty in Postwar Philadelphia. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009.
|Licht, Walter. Getting Work: Philadelphia, 1840-1950. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1992.|
|Lombardo, Timothy J. Blue-Collar Conservatism: Frank Rizzo’s Philadelphia and Populist Politics. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018.
Lyons, Paul. Philadelphia Communists, 1936-1956. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1982.
|McKee, Guian. The Problem of Jobs: Liberalism, Race, and Deindustrialization in Philadelphia. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008.
——-. “Are Urban Histories Bowling Alone?: Social Capital Theory and Urban History.” Journal of Urban History 36, no. 5 (2010): 709-717, https://doi.org/10.1177/0096144210365681.
|Metraux, Stephen. “Waiting for the Wrecking Ball: Skidrow in Postindustrial Philadelphia.” Journal of Urban History 25, no. 5 (1999): 690-715, https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/009614429902500503.
Mumford, Kevin J. “The Trouble with Gay Rights: Race and the Politics of Sexual Orientation in Philadelphia, 1969-1982.” Journal of American History 98, no. 1 (June 2011): 48-72.
Paolantonio, S. A. Frank Rizzo: The Last Big Man in Big City America. Philadelphia: Camino Books, 1993.
Perkiss, Abigail. Making Good Neighbors: Civil Rights, Liberalism, and Integration in Postwar Philadelphia. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2014.
|——-. “Managed Diversity: Contested Meanings of Integration in Post-WWII Philadelphia.” Journal of Urban History 38, no. 3: 410-429, https://doi.org/10.1177/0096144212445451
Resnik, Henry S. Turning on the System: War in the Philadelphia Public Schools. New York: Pantheon Books, 1970.
Rosswurm, Steve. “Emancipation in New York and Philadelphia.” Journal of Urban History 21, no. 4 (1995): 505-510, https://doi.org/10.1177/009614429502100404.
Royles, Dan. “Don’t We Die Too?”: The Politics of Race and AIDS in Philadelphia,” in Rethinking Sexual Politics: Gay Rights and the Challenge of Urban Diversity in the Post-Civil Rights Era, ed. Jonathan Bell. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, forthcoming.
Ryan, Francis. AFSCME’s Philadelphia Story: Municipal Workers and Urban Power in the Twentieth Century. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2011.
Ryberg, Stephanie R. “Historic Preservation’s Urban Renewal Roots: Preservation and Planning in Midcentury Philadelphia.” Journal of Urban History 39, no. 2 (2013): 193-213, https://doi.org/10.1177/0096144212440177
Salinger, Sharon V. “The Phoenix of the ‘New Urban History’: Old Philadelphia.” Journal of Urban History 18, no. 3 (1992): 330-337, https://doi.org/10.1177/009614429201800304
Savage, Michael. “Beyond Boundaries: Envisioning Metropolitan School Desegregation in Boston, Detroit and Philadelphia.” Journal of Urban History, (online, 2018) https://doi.org/10.1177/0096144218801595
Schneider, Eric C., Christopher Agee, and Themis Chronopolous. “Dirty Work: Police and Community Relations and the Limits of Liberalism in Postwar Philadelphia.” Journal of Urban History, (online, 2017), https://doi.org/10.1177/0096144217705497
Stein, Marc. City of Sisterly and Brotherly Loves: Lesbian and Gay Philadelphia, 1945-1972. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000.
|Stranger-Ross, Jordan. “Neither Fight Nor Flight: Urban Synagogues in Postwar Philadelphia.” Journal of Urban History 32, no. 6 (2006): 791-812. https://doi.org/10.1177/0096144205284400
Toloudis, Nicholas. “How Local 192 Fought for Academic Freedom and Civil Rights in Philadelphia, 1934-1941.” Journal of Urban History, (Online, 2018). https://doi.org/10.1177/0096144218778552
Vietillo, Dominic. “Machine Building and City Building: Urban Planning and Restructuring in Philadelphia, 1894-1928.” Journal of Urban History 34, no. 3 (2008): 399-434, https://doi.org/10.1177/0096144207311184
Warner, Sam Bass Jr. The Private City: Philadelphia in Three Periods of Its Growth. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1968.
|Weigley, Russell, ed. Philadelphia: A 300 Year History. New York: Norton, 1982.
Willis, Arthur C. Cecil’s City: A History of Blacks in Philadelphia, 1638–1979. New York: Carlton Press, 1990.
|Wolfinger, James. Philadelphia Divided: Race and Politics in the City of Brotherly Love. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007.
——-. Running the Rails: Capital and Labor in the Philadelphia Transit Industry. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2016.
Young, David W. “The Battles of Germantown: Public History and Preservation in America’s Most Historic Neighborhood during the Twentieth Century.” PhD diss., Ohio State University Press, 2009.
Featured image (at top): Philadelphia Museum of Art, Carol M. Highsmith, between 1980 and 2006, Prints and Photographs, Library of Congress
 William Graebner, “America’s Poseidon Adventure: A Nation in Existential Despair,” in America in the 70s, eds. Beth Bailey and David Farber (Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas Press, 2004), 157-158.
 Graebner, “America’s Poseidon Adventure,” 158.
 Christopher Capozzola, “It Makes You Want to Believe in the Country,” in America in the 70s, eds. Beth Bailey and David Farber (Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas Press, 2004), 29.
 Timothy Lombardo, Blue Collar Conservatism: Frank Rizzo’s Philadelphia and Populist Politics (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018), 52.
 Lombardo, Blue Collar Conservatism, 136.
 Lombardo, Blue Collar Conservatism, 138,148.
 Lombardo, Blue Collar Conservatism, 133, 157.
 Lombardo, Blue Collar Conservatism, 24.
 Lombardo, Blue Collar Conservatism, 25.
 Lombardo, Blue Collar Conservatism, 41.
 Lombardo, Blue Collar Conservatism, 118.
 Lombardo, Blue Collar Conservatism, 119.
 Lombardo, Blue Collar Conservatism, 117; Jefferson Cowie, Stayin’ Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class (New York: The New Press, 2010), 150; Rick Perlstein, Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America (New York: Scribner, 2008); Bruce Schulman, The Seventies: The Great Shift in American Culture, Society, and Politics (New York: Da Capo Press, 2002).
 Kevin J. Mumford, “The Trouble with Gay Rights: Race and the Politics of Sexual Orientation in Philadelphia, 1969-1982,” Journal of American History (June 2011): 49-50.
 John D’Emilio, Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities: The Making of a Homosexual Minority in the United States, 1940-1970 (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1983), 174.
 “The Trouble with Gay Rights,” 54-55.
 Mumford, “The Trouble with Gay Rights,” 52, 54-5, 60.
 Capozzola, “It Makes You Want to Believe in the Country,” 41.
 Mumford, “The Trouble with Gay Rights,” 68-72.
 Lombardo, Blue Collar Conservatism, 158.
7 thoughts on “The Complexities of Brotherly Love: Frank Rizzo, Blue Collar Conservatism and LGBTQ Rights in 1970’s Philadelphia”
Great essay! And I’m flattered to see your inclusion of my article in the bibliography. But please note the spelling of my last name. 🙂
Ooops. Thanks for the heads up, it’s been corrected. And thanks for checking out The Metropole.
Wow, we really didn’t get it right. Thanks for so kindly pointing out our erroneous spelling. We just fixed it!
Good stuff. (I didn’t know about the “Fuck McGovern” cigarette lighter…) Who wrote it? I don’t see a byline!
Thanks for checking it out! Our co-editor Ryan Reft wrote it, but he got that info from the Tim Lombardo book cited in the piece. Thanks again for dropping in!
Gay and Lesbian Philadelphia (Arcadia Publishing) by Thom Nickels,, the first gay/lesbian mass market book to be approved by Arcadia Publishing. After Gay and Lesbian Philadelphia was published, Arcadia began to publish gay and lesbian urban histories throughout the nation
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This might be the most oversimplified and agenda pushing historical essay on Philadelphia I’ve seen yet.
First of all, when have white working class people literally ever had the wind at their back let alone expected to? Making that claim is so beyond absurd it’s laughable.
Second, did you seriously just make the claim that Philadelphia’s only black newspaper wasn’t a great ally to the gay community in the past? Why should they be an ally to a largely white and largely privileged group? It seems to me it should be the other way around.
Third, Philadelphia started being “seen” in the ’90s and 2000s? Umm, what city were you living in? Philadelphia has gotten the scraps from Hollywood for decades and largely only gets “seen” when it’s a project from a Philadelphia native.
You almost got it about deindustrialization and public housing creating serious racial divisions that last to this day but then you made the ridiculous claim that most working class white Philadelphians moved to the far Northeast. Working class white Philadelphians were still living in every corner of the city until the mid 2000s.
Lastly, Philadelphia has always been known for many things that have absolutely nothing to do with hipsters or white working class culture -whatever that even is. I definitely wouldn’t call The War On Drugs white working class, either.
You really tried hard to successfully push an agenda but you failed by making so many absurd claims.