Interview with Kevin White

So, okay, I want you to talk to us about what the coffee hours were like.


Well, they were usually held in a very small living room, sometimes in the basement. A group no more than twenty, sometimes as small as six. And they came to listen, they came hostile, they came suspicious, but they came hopeful that if they could only capture the mayor, if only the mayor could listen, and, and, and, and see that they were right, then, then their cause would not only be heard, but would be w--but would be won. And in a ci--Boston is a, is an international city with sort of a small town mentality. And the mayor is the patriarch, and, and, because it's so political, it is a town in which the mayor is seen as all powerful. So it was a little like capture the flag for both sides. For the Blacks, if we can have the mayor as our protector, then, then we will, we will achieve, and the Whites, if we have the mayor, we will not lose. And my role had to be, uh, neither a partisan for either, but a protector in an odd way of both. And I began to play that role in the summer. But there wasn't large crowds. It was the intimacy of connecting, hopefully, to those women, and it was primarily women on both sides, the amazing thing is that the leadership that was being instituted here was women. And, and, with all the social forces swirling around this, uh, I, I was beginning to deal with a new leadership. So, there were many swirls of many emotions and many political currents, but the mayor was focal to all of it. And there was no chance to escape, if I thought alone in my room at night that I could, the realization every morning was that, there was no getting away from being the center of this storm.