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Louise Day Hicks papers

Identifier: 9800.015

Scope and Contents note

The Louise Day Hicks papers consist of two boxes of various documents written and collected by Louise Days Hicks during the 1970s. The papers include correspondence, newspaper clippings, reports, and legal documents. Many of the papers detail the period of public school desegregation and busing in Boston during the 1970s.

The correspondence is the most extensive part of the collection and includes letters written mostly between the years 1974 and 1975 which are addressed to Louise Day Hicks. The letters were written to Louise Day Hicks mostly in support of her stance against busing in Boston. The letters are from supporters and opponents all over the United States; even including letters from supporters in Europe. The folders consist of only personal correspondence. However, there is a group of correspondence directly related to R.O.A.R. Many people sent letters in support of R.O.A.R. and included donations as well. A majority of the correspondence includes a copy of Louise Day Hicks' response stapled to the matching letter.


  • Creation: 1971-1975
  • Creation: Majority of material found within Bulk, 1974-1975


Biographical Note

Louise Day Hicks (1916-2003), aka Ann Louise Day Hicks, was born in South Boston, Massachusetts to parents William J. Day and Anne McCarron Day. Her father, William J. Day, became a prominent Democratic judge in Boston. However, Anne Day died when Hicks was only fourteen years old. Hicks had three siblings as well.

Hicks attended the Boston Public Schools and graduated from Wheelock Teachers' College in 1938. She married John Hicks, an engineer, in 1942. They had two sons together: John and William. She then attended Boston University where she earned her B.S. in education in 1952. In 1955, she earned her J.D. from Boston University's School of Law. After being admitted to the Massachusetts bar in 1956, she established the law firm Hicks and Day with her brother John Day. In 1960, she became counsel for the Boston Juvenile Court.

In 1961, Hicks entered into politics when she was elected to the Boston Schools Committee. In 1963, she was elected as chairman, a position she held from 1963-1965. During this time, Hicks became a staunch opponent of forced busing and the desegregation of the Boston Public Schools. She advocated for neighborhood schools. Hicks achieved national notoriety when she openly disagreed with a local chapter of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) and was featured in a Newsweek cover story.

In 1967, Hicks unsuccessfully ran for mayor of Boston and was defeated by Kevin White. In 1969, she was elected to the Boston City Council. In 1971, she ran again for political office when she ran for the open seat in the House of Representatives; she won and served two terms in the 92nd Congress (1971-1973). She was the first female Democrat to represent Massachusetts in the House of Representatives. Although she ran for reelection, she was defeated by Joseph Moakley.

She returned to the Boston City Council in 1973. During this time, she started a national organization: Restore Our Alienated Rights (ROAR) in 1974. The organization was created in response to Judge W. Arthur Garrity's court order which required the city of Boston to implement desegregation busing in public schools. ROAR was short-lived but it reached its peak in 1975 in which they organized mass protests to oppose the forced busing and desegregation of public schools.

In 1976, Hicks was elected as the president of the Boston City Council and was the first woman to hold the position. She, again, sought reelection in 1977 but was defeated only to return in 1979 to fill a vacant seat. Her last run for office was in 1981 but she was defeated.

Hicks retired from political life in 1981 after a series of health problems. She died in South Boston, Massachusetts on October 21, 2003 at the age of 87.


0.75 Cubic feet (2 document cases)

Language of Materials


Guide to the Louise Day Hicks papers
Kayla Zaremski
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)