About the Collections

Below is a list of the archival collections that were contributed to the Boston Public Schools Desegregation Collection. If you are interested in becoming a collaborator with this project, please contact us here

Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections

Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections records document desegregation efforts pre-Judge Garrity’s ruling, during the busing crisis and phase 2 desegregation, including Northeastern’s involvement. The collection includes records from organizations like the Freedom House Inc., Citywide Educational Coalition, and METCO as well as individuals like Frank Miranda, Carmen Pola, and Phyllis Ryan.

The records in the Freedom House Inc. collection, document Freedom House’s (FH) desegregation involvement prior to 1965 when the Racial Imbalance Law was passed and focus on FH’s response to the 1974 ruling by Judge Garrity to enforce desegregation of the Boston Public Schools.

The records in the Citywide Educational Coalition collection, document Citywide’s role in the desegregation of the Boston Public Schools from 1974 to the 1980s. Included in the collection is  the response of the anti-busing organization, Restore Our Alienated Rights (ROAR), to Judge W. Arthur Garrity's orders and the Coalition's collaboration with three court appointed councils. Meetings of the Boston School Committee and its standing committees, as well as programs offered in the Boston Public Schools and interviews conducted by the Coalition with parents, teachers, principals, and headmasters are documented.

The Frank J. Miranda papers  documents Miranda’s work with the Boston Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and his term as Director of the Cultural Enrichment and Tutorial Program for Operation Exodus from 1963-1973. Included in his papers are the Boston CORE newsletters, “Corespondent” dating from 1963 to 1967.

The Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity (METCO) collection records document METCO's efforts to provide the city of Boston and the Boston suburbs with a voluntary school desegregation program pre- and post- Judge Garrity’s ruling.  METCO’s mission was to offer “quality integrated education opportunities for urban and suburban students in the greater Boston community.” METCO is the nation’s oldest voluntary school desegregation program. Materials in the collection document METCO’s administrative work, placement procedures.

The Phyllis M. Ryan papers document Ryan’s work as a media and PR coordinator for the Boston Congress of Racial Equality, School Stay Outs, and Freedom School days from 1963-1966. Ryan also helped plan Martin Luther King Jr.’s visit to Boston. Ryan was involved in many organizations throughout her life as an activist and her papers represent those connections.

The records in series 4 and 5 of the Carmen A. Pola papers, document Pola’s work to monitor desegregation efforts and bilingual education initiatives in the 1970s and 1980s. She served as coordinator of the Community District Advisory Council of the Boston Public Schools and director of the Project to Monitor the Code of Discipline.  She was also one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit brought by the Parent's Committee for Defense of Bilingual Education (Comité de Padres pro Defensa del la Educación Bilingüe), Morgan v. Kerrigan, in response to desegregation policies that threatened the viability of bilingual education programs in the Boston Public Schools.

The James W. Fraser (collector) photograph collection consists of 114 photographs depicting students and community leaders protesting school conditions in the 1960s and anti–busing protests and marches, parents demonstrating around Boston in the 1970s.

University Archives & Special Collections in the Joseph P. Healey Library at UMass Boston

University Archives & Special Collections in the Joseph P. Healey Library at UMass Boston holds more than 200 linear feet of material related to Boston school desegregation, including the chambers papers of Judge W. Arthur Garrity, the Center for Law and Education's Morgan v. Hennigan case records, and the papers and records of individuals involved in or impacted by the case. University Archives & Special Collections has digitized materials from two collections related to school desegregation in Boston: the records of Mosaic, a program out of South Boston High School from 1980 to 1989, and the chambers papers of Judge Arthur Garrity, the federal district court judge who oversaw the Boston Schools case.

Mosaic publication: Founded by Michael Tierney and Dan Terris, Mosaic was launched at South Boston High School in 1980 in response to the effects of court-ordered desegregation on the high school. Led by professional writers and photographers, students produced stories and photographs about themselves and their communities. A yearly anthology was published from 1980 to 1988. University Archives & Special Collections digitized the full 11-issue run of Mosaic.

W. Arthur Garrity, Jr., chambers papers: The W. Arthur Garrity, Jr., chambers papers constitute a day-to day file documentation of Morgan v. Hennigan, commonly known as the Boston Schools Case, a class action suit against the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Boston School Committee. The case went to trial before Federal District Court Judge Garrity, who on June 21, 1974, filed a 152-page opinion ruling that the School Committee of the City of Boston had "intentionally brought about and maintained racial segregation" in the Boston public schools. The opinion required the School Committee to use a temporary desegregation plan for the 1974-1975 school year and ordered the Committee to begin formulating a permanent plan. By January 1975, the School Committee had failed to present an adequate desegregation plan to the court and the court assumed an active role in the formulation of the desegregation remedy, overseeing implementation of court-ordered desegregation (through busing) in the Boston Public Schools for the next fifteen years. University Archives & Special Collections digitized a number of materials from the Garrity papers, including the Judge’s correspondence with public officials and a full year of observer reports prepared by the Citywide Coordinating Council.

Boston City Archives

The Boston City Archives holds municipal records documenting the responses and actions of city officials, city residents, and outside observers both prior to and during school integration in Boston.  The Archives holds records created by city officials and departments; correspondence files that document thoughts and actions of both Bostonians and outside observers; and the records of anti-busing organizations.

The Mayor John Collins records document civil rights activities and desegregation efforts prior to Judge Garrity’s decision.  

The Mayor Kevin White records document the actions of Mayor White and other city government officials during various phases of school integration. Correspondence files capture the reactions of both Bostonians and members of the national and international community to the busing crises. Additionally, a file of daily police logs document incidents related to busing from September to November of 1974.

The Morgan v. Hennigan et al and related cases records document the legal actions of Boston’s Law Department in cases related to school integration in the late 1960s and 1970s. These records show the perspective and actions of Boston’s Law Department as it dealt with various school integration cases.

The Louise Day Hicks collection documents the actions of anti-busing activist Louise Day Hicks and her anti-busing organization ROAR (Restore Our Alienated Rights). The collection includes administrative materials from ROAR and samples of Hicks’ correspondence.

The Francesca Johnene collection documents the activities of Boston’s anti-busing community.  Johnene was an active member of ROAR and other anti-busing groups.  This collection consists of mainly of publications from anti-busing organizations.

The Moakley Archive and Institute at Suffolk University

Suffolk University’s Moakley Archive and Institute digitized more than 150 digitized items related to Congressman Joe Moakley’s involvement in Boston’s school desegregation crisis from the following collections:

Congressman John Joseph Moakley Papers: At the time of the ruling, Congressman Moakley represented South Boston, one of the neighborhoods most directly impacted by the busing plan. His congressional files include proposals for a constitutional amendment to prohibit forced busing, correspondence with constituents and local officials, press files, reports and demographic information on Boston’s schools and voters, files about violence at South Boston High, and campaign files from his races against anti-busing crusader, Louise Day Hicks.

Oral History Interviews: The interviews (recordings and transcripts) were conducted in the 2000s with teachers, students, politicians, Congressman Moakley, members of Moakley’s staff, and others impacted by Boston’s busing era.

Boston College Libraries

The Boston College Libraries have digitized and posted online a small selection of documents from the Citywide Coordinating Council (CCC) records held at the Burns Library. The CCC records are the institutional files of the independent, autonomous body created by the courts to oversee desegregation in Boston Public Schools from 1975-1978. Both the activities of the Council and the process of desegregation of Boston's public schools are documented in this archival collection. The now-digitized documents are a sampling of questionnaires, or “monitoring reports,” completed by volunteer observers, school administrators, and students.

National Archives at Boston

The National Archives at Boston holds records related to the Boston Schools Desegregation case Morgan v. Hennigan. A large portion of the records include the original case as heard in the US District Court at Boston. The case number is 72-00911. These case files comprises approximately 54 cubic feet of records. Other records include related cases from the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals, Morgan v Burke (1001) and Morgan v Nucci (1987) Case #’s 85–1447, 85–1900, 85–1747 and 85–2006. Case # 90-1614 These cases comprise approximately 7 cubic feet of records. Other records related to the Boston Schools, a series of documents related to the work of the US Marshals Service as part of the Desegregation program. The extent of this series is 2 cubic feet.

Digital Commonwealth, Internet Archive, and Digital Public Library of America

The archives listed above were supported by Digital Commonwealth, who provided the necessary connecting point.  Digital Commonwealth has also made available digital material from a broad range of other libraries, historical societies, archives, and museums in Massachusetts.  Items from those other collections will still show up in a search if they relate to school desegregation in Boston. Digital Commonwealth's partnership with the Digital Public Library of America allows these collections to co-mingle with collections from across the country.  This enables constant growth of the desegregation collection simply by the addition of relevant material in either system.

Boston Library Consortium

The Boston Library Consortium (BLC) supports collaboration across academic and research libraries in New England.  Member libraries benefit from a partnership that provides proactive, innovative, and cost-effective access to shared information resources, services, and expertise.  The BLC is focused on ensuring its member libraries best serve the teaching, research, and scholarship needs of their parent institutions.  With 17 Full Members from New Hampshire to Rhode Island, the BLC fosters collaboration and connection. and advocates for its members on issues of importance to the transformation of academic and research libraries in the 21st century.  More information is available at www.blc.org.

Boston Public School classroom during a visit by Mayor Kevin White