The group's purpose was to fight off U.S. Federal Judge W. Arthur Garrity's court order requiring the city of Boston to implement desegregation busing — an order intended to eliminate de factoracial segregation in its public schools. To supporters, ROAR's purpose was its namesake; i.e., to protect the "vanishing rights" of white citizens. To its many opponents, however, ROAR was a symbol of mass racism coalesced into a single organization.
ROAR was briefly a mass movement, but it began to be broken apart by its enemies when it was at its political height in 1975. Notably, the Progressive Labor Party (PLP) organized a coordinated, violent assault against ROAR when ROAR attempted to disrupt PLP's 1975 May Day march with massive resistance. PLP members also attacked ROAR rallies, functions, and even used direct action to short-circuit racist attacks against black people by ROAR supporters. Assaults against ROAR by PLP continued for the rest of the summer. When schools reopened in September 1975, ROAR did lead successful demonstrations in Charlestown, Massachusetts that were reminiscent of the Little Rock Nine, but ROAR was noticeably unable to draw another mass rally, as it had that May and in the months before.
The end of 1975 thus saw ROAR's decline. Its activists continued to be infamous for spotty racist vigilante actions against nonwhite citizens of Boston after 1975, but none of those ever approached the massive scale and influence of earlier that year. Slowly, even these vigilante actions were more and more successfully suppressed by anti-racists working in the area (and led largely by PLP), meaning that ROAR and its influence soon disintegrated.