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Center for Law and Education: Morgan V. Hennigan Case Records, 1964-1994


68 record cartons


The records of the Center for Law and Education: Morgan v. Hennigan Case were donated to the Healey Library on October 30, 1995, by Robert Pressman of the Center.


In 1969 the Center for Law and Education opened its doors as the Harvard Center for Law and Education. It was established as part of a legal services program established by the Office of Economic Opportunity and Harvard's schools of law and education. The center is one of a series of university-affiliated national centers. As an interdisciplinary research institute, the center's mission is "to protect and advance the legal interests of the poor through research and action on the legal implications of educational policies particularly those affecting equality of educational opportunity." From 1969 to the present, the center has been a legal advocate for educational issues and has helped shape federal laws that govern school programs in order to improve educational outcomes, particularly for low-income students and communities.

In 1974, the center served as co-counsel in the landmark class action suit against the state and the Boston School Committee, Morgan v Hennigan. In 1976, the Harvard Center for Law and Education became an independent, nonprofit corporation and changed its name to the Center for Law and Education. It began publishing NEWSNOTES, a newsletter about education advocacy including key legal developments, noteworthy state and local efforts, and resources, in 1979. A year later in 1980, the center opened an office in Washington, D. C. so that it could work more intensively with Congress and the Department of Education and Labor. In 1988, however, the Reagan Administration threatened drastic cuts in federal education spending and funding for legal services for poor people. A Congressional amendment to bar legal services programs from representing students and parents in educational cases was narrowly defeated in the House of Representatives. However, the center was threatened again in 1995 when the United States Congress voted to eliminate all Legal Services Corporation funding for the center and its fifteen national support centers which provide assistance on specialized areas of poverty law to neighborhood legal service programs representing low-income clients. In order to continue providing services, the center now relies on grant and foundation money. Despite the loss of funding, the Center for Law and Education continues its efforts to improve the quality of public education for all students and, in particular, those form low-income families. Over the years, the center has forged a unique leadership role in legal advocacy in education in order to bring about school and district-wide changed to improve educational outcomes.

Scope and Content

The records in this collection are the papers of the Center for Law and Edcuation in the landmark Boston school desegregation case Morgan et. al. v Hennigan et. al., 379 F. Supp. 410 (1974), a complex and legally entangled class action suit against the state and the Boston School Committee. The center served as co-counsel for the plaintiffs. The complaint filed in the Massachusetts District Court charged that the state and Boston school officials were maintaining a segregated school system that denied blacks equal educational opportunities. The collection spans the years 1964-1994 and are arranged in twelve series as follows:

    I. Complaint Pleadings, March 15, 1972-July 31, 1972.
    II. Liability Phase Pleadings, May 1972-1975.
    III. Remedy Phase Pleadings, March 15, 1972-July 28, 1994.
    IV. Depositions, November 27, 1972-April 5, 1977.
    V. Transcripts, May 22, 1972- October 2, 1985.
    VI. Exhibits
    a. Plaintiff Exhibits, 1966-1973.
    b. City and State Defendant's Exhibits, 1962-1973.
    VII. Appeal Briefs, 1974-1990.
    VIII. Subject Files
    a. Subject File, 1969-1976.
    b. Subject File, 1969-1989.
    IX. Related Case Transcripts, 1972-1979/
    X. Implementation Phase
    a. Student Assignments and Maintenance, 1980-1992.
    b. Outstanding Issues, 1989-1992.
    XI. Reports, 1964-1989.
    XII. Newspaper Clippings, 1946-1979.

The collection provides information about the background, litigation and resolution of the case. The case docket number, CA-72-911-G, remains the same throughout the case; however, during litigation the defendant's name changed to reflect membership changes in the Boston School Committee. Other defendants include Kerrigan, McDonough, Sullivan, Finnegan, McCluskey, Walsh-Tomansini and Nucci.

This collection contains the kinds of legal documents that are created in the course of a civil action such as the original complaint, motions, notices, memoranda, orders, affidavits, briefs, citations, reports, petitions, proposals, appeals, and the final judgement. It also includes materials used to support the plaintiffs' case such as local, state and federal reports, plans, studies, manuals, surveys, guides and published materials. The file organization established by the office staff has been maintained. Within the series the records are arranged either alphabetically or by subject in reverse chronological order. This filing system is representative of a law office. When a case file is opened, the first document created or received by the office is placed in the file. Usually, the date and a brief description is noted on the inside cover of the file folder. Subsequent documents that are created or received in the course of the case will be placed in front of the first document. The resulting file folder is in reverse chronological order with the last document appearing first in the folder.


Series I: Complaint Pleadings, March 15, 1972-July, 1972.

Arranged in reverse chronological order. The folders contain documents such as the original complaint, motions, plaintiffs' requests, defendants' answers, memoranda and interrogatories.

Series II: Liability Phase Pleadings, May 1972-1975.
Arranged by subject. The documents within the file folders are in reverse chronological order. While not consistent for each folder, the types of documents include correspondence, memoranda, briefs, motions, notices and invoices, This series also contains original plaintiffs' trial brief, plaintiff's exhibit list and reports on racial imbalance.

Series III: Remedy Phase Pleadings, March 15, 1972-July 28, 1994.
Arranged in reverse chronological order. This series contains 209 numbered file folders. The documents within the folders are numbered consecutively through folder number 189. Document numbers begin again with number one at folder numbered 191. Folders numbered 190, 199 and 200 appear to be missing. Each folder contains a document list and description on the inside cover. Pleadings that are dated March 16, 1985, through January 30, 1990, lack document numbers, lists, and descriptions, and are in folders marked by month and year followed by year only. While not consistent for each file folder, the types of documents include correspondence, memoranda, motions, notices, orders, affidavits, and final judgement. This series also includes student assignment plans, transportation notes, individual city wide parent council zones, and pleadings corresponding to the state's case Board of Education et. al v School Committee of the City of Boston No. 73-190 Equity, July 23, 1974, through August 5, 1974.

Series IV: Depositions, November 27, 1972-April 5, 1977.
This series is arranged chronologically as well as alphabetically. It consists of an alphabetical witness list with date of deposition and includes objections to the depositions. There is one folder of deposition citations dated November 27, 1972, through January 16, 1973. Also contained in this series are exhibits related to the depositions. Exhibit documents include reports, proposals, bulletins, correspondence, memoranda, studies and plans, and for the most part dated prior to the trial. There are also related depositions dated July 1972, through September 1972, and are not in alphabetical order. Mr. Hagan's deposition dated April 5, 1977, is filed in front of the alphabetically arranged depositions.

Series V: Transcripts, May 22, 1972-October 1985.
Arranged chronologically. There are fifteen bound volumes of transcripts. The first and second days are marked on the cover by day with page numbers. Volumes three through fourteen are marked by day with witness' names. Volume fifteen is marked exhibits. Other transcripts in this series have clear covers displaying the date. The series also includes pretrial transcripts and a transcript of closing arguments of counsel dated March 22, 1973.

Series VI: Exhibits.

Sub-series VIa: Plaintiff Exhibits, 1966-1973.
Arranged numerically. This sub-series consists of 805 file folders. The exhibits are printed documents such as reports from various local, state and federal agencies, cost schedules, statistics, memoranda, surveys, charts, photocopies of newspaper clippings, studies, committee meeting minutes and printed materials. There are exhibits related to housing proof which include pages 131 through 822 of the Bradley v Milliken transcript, and other reports related to housing.

Sub-series VIb: City and State Defendants' Exhibits, 1962-1973.
Arranged numerically. This sub-series consists of 259 city defendants' exhibits and 64 state defendants' exhibits. The type of documents include correspondence, memoranda, surveys, reports, maps, pamphlets and printed materials.

Series VII: Appeal Briefs, 1974-1990.
Arranged in reverse chronological order. The series consists of printed copies of bound volumes of appellee and appellant's briefs that were submitted to the court for individual appeals. Also included are file folders of printed notes, correspondence and a Report on Boston School Facilities.

Series VIII: Subject Files.

Sub-series VIIIa: Subject File, 1969-1976.
Arranged alphabetically. This series is composed of a broad range of subjects related to the case. The files do not appear to have been maintained by one particular person: they may have been a central file. Topics include student assignment plans, transfers, court and master plans, and transcripts from closed hearings. Types of documents include correspondence, reports, newspaper clippings, memoranda, printed material, depositions re: closed hearings, maps, booklets, minutes, handwritten notes, photos and charts.

Sub-series VIIIb: Subject File, [1952] 1969-1989.
Arranged alphabetically. This file appears to have been kept by a single staff member. The files cover a broad range of subjects relating to the case such as affirmative action plans, budgets, facilities monitoring plans and student assignment procedures. The types of documents include booklets, correspondence, memoranda, affidavits, printed material, reports and handwritten notes.

Series IX: Related Case Transcripts, 1972-1979.
This series contains transcripts of the School Committee of the City of Boston v Massachusetts Board of Education. The documents within the files are arranged chronologically. The transcripts from August 23, 1972, through August 31, 1972, are labeled by day and page number. There are seven volumes of transcripts dated November 17, 1979, through November 29, 1979, with page numbers. Volumes three through seven are labeled. Transcripts from the administration proceedings regarding Boston Public Schools and the State Department of Education CR-982 dated June 24, 1972, through September 29, 1972, are numbered one through eleven. The United States Commission on Civil Rights June 16, 1975 transcripts are numbered by page. Some of the pages are out of order. Also included in this series are supporting documents, handwritten notes, responses to decisions, two appeal briefs dated December 1972 and February 1973, and one file re: Master's Plan.

Series X: Implementation Phase.

Sub-series Xa: Student Assignment and Maintenance, 1980-1992.
Arranged chronologically for the most part. This series consists of materials relevant to the implementation phase of court orders specifically, student assignment plans and maintenance funding. It contains guides and procedural manuals re: student assignment plans, student services, discipline, safety and security. Also included are school profiles and geocode matrices. Maintenance funding contains documents such as correspondence, handwritten notes, memoranda, budgets, motions, petitions, operations manuals, affidavits and exhibits.

Sub-series Xb: Outstanding Issues, 1989-1990.
The subject files in this sub-series are arranged in no particular order. The documents within the file folders are in reverse chronological order for the most part. This sub-series contains documents relating to the resolution of outstanding issues. It addresses issues such as student assignment plans, student transfers, controlled choice, advocacy approaches, school zones and school closings. While not consistent for each file, the types of documents include correspondence, newspaper clippings, memoranda, pamphlets, plans, handwritten notes, exhibits list, guides, notices, parent surveys and a school committee meeting transcript dated December 12, 1989.

Series XI: Reports, 1964-1989.
Arranged chronologically. This series contains reports that cover a variety of subjects such as facilities analysis, problems and challenges, racial imbalance, Department of Implementation, vocational education, analysis of the Boston Public Schools, annual school reports by the superintendent, desegregation, and dispute resolution.

Series XI: Reports, 1964-1989.
Arranged in no particular order. This series contains newspaper clippings of articles which reveal background information regarding the case, the trial and public reaction to Federal District Court Judge W. Arthur Garrity, Jr.'s decision in June 1984. The articles are for the most part from the Boston Globe. Also included in this series is a publication of The Dilemma of Boston Schools by Robert Levy, a Boston Globe reporter.