Tom Atkins

Boston mayor had defused racial tensions

Boston mayor had defused racial tensions

Former Boston Mayor Kevin Hagan White, who steered the city through the racial storm caused by court-ordered school desegregation and is credited with giving political access to blacks, women and gays, died late last month at his Beacon Hill home.

White, who was from a seasoned Boston political family and served four terms as mayor, was 82.

I was living in the city when he was elected to his first term as mayor in 1967. He defeated Louise Day Hicks, the loud-mouthed South Boston segregationist and anti-busing activist who galvanized the city's white, working-class neighborhoods with her racist views.

She proudly ran her mayoral campaign on twin slogans:...