From The WGBH Vault: Trying Times

By WGBH News

Jan. 29, 2012 

kevin white

In 1968, mayor Kevin White addresses the audience at a James Brown concert the day after the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (WGBH Open Vault)

BOSTON — Mayor Kevin White's four-term tenure as mayor spanned a time of tumultuous race relations in Boston. These exclusive videos from the WGBH archives show key moments from the 1970s, when White presided over court-ordered desegregation in Boston public schools. 

Mayor White and James Brown, April 5, 1968

A day after the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Boston was home to a famous James Brown concert. As violence was breaking out across America, White was considering canceling all public events, including the concert. Civil leaders advised White that canceling the concert might trigger a riot. The mayor relented and then persuaded WGBH to broadcast the event in an effort to keep African Americans at home.

Watch the speech
 from WGBH Open Vault.

Three Days Before Busing, Sept. 1974

White appeared on WGBH’s Evening Compass to deliver a message on how the city would implement its new busing policy. In-studio operators received calls from parents and Paul Russell of the Boston Police Department addressed concerns. In this video, you can also see a film of anti-busing protestors on City Hall plaza.

Day 3 of Desegregation, Sept. 16, 1974

White spoke at a press conference at City Hall on the third day of desegregation of Boston public schools. He fielded questions about the enforcement of busing in South Boston and the school boycott by South Boston resident.

Watch the speech
 from WGBH Open Vault.

This Year It Must Be Different,’ Sept. 3, 1975

White appeared on WGBH's "The Ten O'Clock News" to call for a safe start to the school year after the uproar of the year before and detail measures in place to ensure it.

Watch the speech from WGBH Open Vault.
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