Interview with Kevin White

Okay, June 21, 1974, Garrity hands down his decision, what do you do?


Well, I'm the mayor. And, uh, the first recognition is that it's a, it's a court order, it has to be enforced by the city, that it's a final decision, that's it's irrevocable, and, uh, that I'm going to be responsible at a minimum, for public safety, and uh, at a maximum for, for the, for the social health, in a way it's a little exaggerated, but the morals of the town, it's a moral question, as well as a political question. What I did was, uh, respond politically**. Ah, and, and that is I brought my staff together, and I decided that the first thing I had to do, was not, was to reach out to the Whites. They were the ones who were going to feel threatened. And secondly, because I had beaten Mrs. Hicks, the Blacks had trust in me, to a degree, with the normal skepticism reserved for all public officials, and it was the Whites that I had to reach out for. So I asked them to arrange 100 coffee hours in the city, in the homes, hosted by only anti--White, uh, anti-busing mothers, in, in the White communities. And I wanted to take it head on. I wanted to reach out to talk to them, not to threaten them, to explain. And, uh, and so, uh, I began in that course almost immediately after Garrity handed down his order.