Kevin Hagan White has died, the Boston Globe reports. The former Boston mayor was 82, and had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease ten years ago. His tenure ran 16 years, from 1968 to 1984, during which White, a Democrat and liberal reformer, guided that city through some extremely tumultuous and economically trying times. Described as a quick adapter with "lightning instincts" and a "larger-than-life" aura, White is credited even by his rivalries with having transformed Beantown into a "world-class city," as White himself often proudly put it.
White steered the city through the 1974 busing crisis, during which U.S. District Court Judge W. Arthur Garrity's attempts at desegregating public schools were met with violent protests. It was a plan White felt at the time was "too severe," the AP notes. But nothing, not even race riots, could distract White from his commitment to revitalizing Boston's decaying downtown district. His transformation of Quincy Market into a bustling tourist hub endures to this day.
Among his other proud accomplishments: White once personally pardoned and released the Rolling Stones after the band had been arrested en route to a concert at Boston Garden. White later introduced Mick and the gang to an appreciative crowd: "The Stones have been busted, but I have sprung them!" he said.