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Francesca Johnnene collection

Identifier: 9800.012

Scope and Contents

This collection documents the activities and involvement of Francesca “Fran” Johnnene in the anti-desegregation movement, specifically in the activist groups Restore Our Alienated Rights (ROAR) and the National Association of Neighborhood Schools (NANS). Dates for the collection range from circa 1972 to circa 1979, with the majority of records being from 1974-1977. The collection is divided into two series: ROAR (Restore Our Alienated Rights) and NANS (National Association of Neighborhood Schools).

The ROAR series contains: correspondence, including personal correspondence, letters sent to ROAR, mass mailings sent from ROAR, and letters sent to and from Louise Day Hicks; a pamphlet and registration cards from the First National ROAR Convention of 1975; drafts of statements and speeches; copies of newspapers, newsletters, and news clippings from the Boston area as well as other regions where Johnnene had contacts; and publications and materials that Johnnene kept for research and as reference materials.

The NANS series includes: correspondence between NANS board members; copies of mass mailings sent from NANS; an agenda for and community responses to a televised debate between NANS and the U.S. Civil Rights Commission; records pertaining to the Symposia on Constructive Alternatives to Forced Busing; materials from the Positive Action Committee, an anti-busing group from Delaware; and copies of petitions.


  • Creation: 1974-1979


Historical note

In 1965, Massachusetts passed the Racial Imbalance Act to address de facto racial segregation within Massachusetts’ public schools. The Boston chapter of the NAACP filed a lawsuit on behalf of fifteen black parents and forty-three children against the Boston School Committee, claiming the school committee was intentionally segregating Boston schools. The case was titled Morgan v. Hennigan. On June 21, 1974, federal Judge W. Arthur Garrity ruled on the case and found that the Boston School Committee had engaged in intentional school segregation. He ordered Boston to follow the Massachusetts Board of Education’s plan for school integration that had been created after the passage of the Racial Imbalance Act. This plan consisted primarily of busing students to schools outside of their neighborhoods to racially balance Boston schools.

ROAR (Restore Our Alienated Rights) was founded in the spring of 1974 in response to the Racial Imbalance Act as well as Morgan v. Hennigan. The group was led by Louise Day Hicks, who was a prominent figure within Boston politics. She sat on the Boston School Committee from 1961 to 1970 and was on the Boston City Council from 1970 to 1971, as well as 1974 to 1981. ROAR members were predominantly of mothers of white public school students and sought to oppose school integration by busing within Boston.

Fran Johnnene was a leading member of ROAR from its creation. As a Hyde Park resident, she was especially active in organizing ROAR activities within her neighborhood. Johnnene later left the group in late 1975 due to disagreeing with the tactics of the group, which were becoming more militant. She instead became active in the group NANS (National Association of Neighborhood Schools), which was a national group that opposed school integration via busing.


2 Cubic feet

Language of Materials


Fran Johnnene collection
Darren Young and Andrea Pakula
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the City of Boston Archives Repository

201 Rivermoor St.
West Roxbury MA 02132 United States
617-635-1194 (Fax)