Mayor Kevin White’s death is a moment for all of us to remember him and the days when he managed this city with an iron fist. He was above all, a real Bostonian with his early roots in West Roxbury and his adult life spent on Beacon Hill.
He loved Boston. He loved downtown Boston. He loved the neighborhoods. Above all, he loved the people.
Mayor Kevin White was this city’s guiding force when it was coming to life, literally coming out of a slumber, during a bygone era when everything about this city was changing and coming to life.
He came to power at a time when rich were pitted against poor. Men against women. Old against young. White against black.
The social revolution rising at this time caused the nation to convulse – and Boston convulsed with it.
The Vietnam War was ripping the nation apart. Busing was destined to do its best to ruin the city’s once proud public school system. The challenges facing White when he took office were extraordinary. He was up for all of it. He was never daunted. He was always looking for the next big push to change the face and the fortune of the city.
He was ready for the challenge.
He was the right man at the right time for this city.
He proved it time and again during a long reign when the city evolved largely into a virtual image of what it is today.
He took Quincy Market Place from a one horse, meat market, decrepit reality and turned it into Boston’s signature tourist stop, drawing millions upon millions and having a profound effect on nearly everything else at the time.
He transformed the waterfront from lazy and dead on arrival into another residential and commercial success story.
His greatest credit goes to remaking the non-existent Boston skyline and by rejuvenating the downtown by doing so and for bringing new life to the city and its neighborhoods in a big, big way.
He was a big picture guy with a big picture reputation who dominated this city’s political life from the time he was 38 until he retired from public life 16 years later.
He was a master at understanding a changing Boston and not standing against it- indeed – he welcomed the future, always. He was the brightest and best to nurture the future here.
He judged men and women by what they brought to the table not by their religion or the color of their skin or by the second language they spoke or by their sexual orientation.
In this respect he was truly a man for all seasons, who always did his best for the city he loved until the day he died.
There are no more Kevin Whites coming up the ladder in Boston today.
Our condolences to his family.