This article profiles three black and Puerto Rican neighborhood leaders of Philadelphia. Their civic efforts reveal a certain style of leadership that they used to navigate their communities through the turbulent 1960s and 1970s. They charted a middle path between identifying with the established power structure and pursuing purely oppositional politics. In addition to expanding our perception of civic leadership, these figures defy binary typologies of leadership style while demonstrating continuity at the local level. With diverse backgrounds and personalities, they created and maintained interethnic and cross-class alliances. Their accomplishments reveal how migrants could quickly become representative figures in their new communities. These leaders effectively mobilized a sense of shared group identity to build legitimacy among neighborhood residents.

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