Interview with Kevin White
QUESTION 6
JACKIE SHEARER:

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

KEVIN WHITE:

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.