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Desegregation entered the standard American English lexicon in about 1951 to describe the process of removing racial and other minorities from isolation or sequestration in society. The related terms segregation and integration are found in sixteenth-century texts and have broader generic meanings that require contextual understanding. Using the modern civil rights movement as the context with which to frame an understanding of these terms can provide the means for critical analysis of relevant issues. This entry reviews the context in which desegregation became policy, examines its progress in the particular instance of schools, and looks at the larger question of whether desegregation is necessary to achieve equality.

Historical Context: Overview

From the beginning of intergroup contact among Europeans, Africans, indigenous Americans, and Asians on American soil, there ...

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