Degree Year


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts




Renee Christine Romano


American history, History


In 1972, a group of thirteen white mothers founded an educational research organization that would become the Mothers Alert Detroit (MAD). Although primarily known for its role in Detroit's anti-busing movement, MAD was involved in a series of local disputes in the Detroit Public Schools. Through its tenure in the 1970s, MAD opposed efforts to desegregate the public schools, implement sex education courses, reform school textbooks, and increase the mill levy to fund the school system.

I argue that the local political activism of MAD was informed by a conservative gender ideology. Mothers comprised the organization’s leadership and rank-and-file. These women were often members of single income-earning households, and considered motherhood their primary duty in society. Their role as symbolic upholders of the family structure added credence to MAD’s critiques of the negative societal changes they saw funding unfolding. In each education dispute, MAD articulated their conservative politics through gendered concerns of child protection, the preservation of the traditional heterosexual family and the maintenance of the local white community.

Included in

History Commons