Thomas I. Atkins, Boston Civil Rights Activist Dies

The Sunday Boston Globe reports that Thomas I. Atkins, lawyer, Boston’s first black at-large city councilor, NAACP leader and tireless Civil Rights activist known for his role in the 1970s school segregation cases involving busing in Boston has died at 69 of Lou Gherig’s disease. 

Born in Elkhart, Indiana, Mr. Atkins graduated from Harvard Law School and remained in the Boston area where he is credited with many things including minimizing the unrest in Boston after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.   While other cities were rioting, Atkins persuaded Mayor Kevin White to continue with plans to hold a James Brown concert at Boston Garden and have it televised live.  

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Mr. Atkins leaves two sons, his former wife, siblings in Indiana, and three granddaughters and one great-granddaughter.  His daughter, Trena, predeceased him in 2006.  The family is planning a memorial service in lieu of a funeral.