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About this collection

University Archives & Special Collections in the Joseph P. Healey Library at UMass Boston digitized three different sections (or series) within the much larger W. Arthur Garrity, Jr. chambers papers on the Boston Schools Desegregation Case as part of a collaborative initiative made possible by the Boston Library Consortium. In addition to the materials from the chambers papers of Judge Garrity, University Archives & Special Collections digitized the Mosaic records and publications. Learn more about and explore the Mosaic records and publications here.

The objective of this collaborative initiative through the Boston Library Consortium was to identify, digitize, and describe archival materials that help tell the history of busing and desegregation in Boston and the Boston Public Schools.

About the digitized materials from the W. Arthur Garrity, Jr. chambers papers on the Boston Schools Desegregation case

The papers in this collection constitute a day-to day file documentation of Morgan v. Hennigan, 379 F. Supp. 410 (1974), 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 W. Arthur Garrity, Jr., 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 at UMass Boston digitized three different sections (or series) within the much larger W. Arthur Garrity, Jr. chambers papers collection. Click here to view the finding aid for this collection.

Sub-Series Xl: Citywide Coordinating Council: Observer Reports, 9/8/75-5/28/76


On May 30, 1975, Judge Garrity issued an order creating a multi-ethnic Citywide Coordinating Council (CCC) to monitor implementation of the student desegregation plan. The council’s mission was to provide the public and all interested parties with accurate information, to identify and resolve all types of problems associated with implementation, and to pull together a community effort. The council was made up of approximately forty members appointed by the court.

The pre-printed observer forms in this sub-series contain specific questions requiring a yes or no answer. They offer a general assessment of the individual schools throughout the academic year and provide daily abstracts of the continuous monitoring. There are 446 multi-page Observer Reports that have been digitized. Please note: Phone numbers of those preparing daily reports have been redacted from the digitized record.

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Series L: Politicians: Letters, Speeches, etc., 1974-1985


This series contains letters, speeches, and addresses from state and local politicians, community leaders, and school committee members. The subjects include the final orders, LAU Plan, termination of the court’s jurisdiction, consent decree, student assignments, reorganization of Boston school department, budget, kindergarten, property tax, school safety, and school busing. Also included, in many cases, are copies of Judge Garrity's response to correspondence with local and regional politicians. Ninety-five sets of correspondence, many multi-page, have been digitized.

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Series LXVIII: Correspondence, 1973-1994


This series contains correspondence from citizens not directly involved in the case. It includes a variety of letters, cards, and telegrams. The majority of correspondence is local, but there are many out-of-state and a few international items as well. The letters encompass a wide spectrum of writers including young children, teenagers, teachers and school officials, parents, religious and political leaders, community groups, and many anonymous writers. Chambers papers are the personal property of the judge, who retains the right to make the final decision regarding their preservation and management. Judge Garrity saved these letters because he felt that they reflected the thoughts of citizens regarding the court’s decision to achieve desegregation of the Boston Public Schools by busing schoolchildren away from their neighborhood schools. Due to restrictions placed on this series by Judge Garrity as a condition of his donation to University Archives & Special Collections at UMass Boston, only a small selection of letters (27) have been digitized, and those digital files are themselves redacted. Redacted information may include correspondents' names, contact information, and other personal identifiable information, as per restrictions placed on the collection by Judge Garrity.

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