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Racial segregation in the United States
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"The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing."
Racial segregation in the United States, as a general term, includes the segregation or separation of access to facilities, services, and opportunities such as housing, medical care, education, employment, and transportation along racial lines. The expression most often refers to the legally or socially enforced separation of African Americans from other races, but also applies to the general discrimination against people of color by white communities.
The term refers to the physical separation and provision of so-called "separate but equal" facilities, which were separate but rarely equal, as well as to other manifestations of racial discrimination, such as separation of roles within an institution: for example, in the United States Armed Forces before the 1950s, black units were typically separated from white units but were led by white officers. Signs were used to show non-whites where they could legally walk, talk, drink, rest, or eat. Segregated facilities extended from white only schools to white only graveyards.Legal segregation of schools was stopped in the U.S. by federal enforcement of a series of Supreme Court decisions after Brown v. Board of Education in 1954. All legally enforced public segregation (segregation de jure) was abolished by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It passed after demonstrations during the Civil Rights Movement resulted in public opinion turning against legally-enforced segregation.
De facto segregation—segregation "in fact", without sanction of law—persists in varying degrees to the present day. The contemporary racial segregation seen in the United States in residential neighborhoods has been shaped by public policies, mortgage discrimination, and redlining, among other factors. De facto segregation results from the geographical grouping of racial groups either as a result of economic factors or choice (white flight). Most often, this occurs in cities where the residents of the inner city are African Americans and the suburbs surrounding this inner core are often European American residents. Douglas Massey and Nancy A. Denton proposed the term hypersegregation in their 1989 study of "American Apartheid", when whites created black ghettos during the first half of the 20th century in order to isolate growing urban black populations.