Former Boston Mayor Kevin White passed away tonight at the age of 82. He had been afflicted with Alzheimer’s Disease for more than a decade.
White had Boston’s top job for sixteen years. First elected in 1967, White won wide praise the following year when he convinced James Brown to broadcast his concert at Boston Garden on WGBH following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. Indeed, White actually introduced Brown onto the stage. As a result, Boston was largely spared of the riots which befell other American cities.
In 1970, White unsuccessfully ran for Governor against liberal Republican Frank Sargent but was re-elected to a second term as mayor the following year. George McGovern briefly named White to be his running mate in 1972 until Ted Kennedy raised objections. White was replaced with Thomas Eagleton who was in turn replaced by Sargent Shriver. In 1980, White would get even with Kennedy by refusing to endorse his challenge of President Carter for the Democratic Party nomination.
Although White was elected to two more terms, he became unpopular over busing and school desegregation and several members of his administration were indicted for misappropriating funds by U.S. Attorney (and later liberal Republican Governor) William Weld although White himself was not indicted. These days, White is probably best remembered for the development of the Fanueil Hall Marketplace where a statue of him is situated.
Here’s an interesting profile of White published in of all places People in September 1980 which focused on his warm words for John Anderson despite his nominal support for Carter as well as his own presidential ambitions.