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Segregation in the context of the United States refers to practices and policies of racial separation, whereby White and non-White populations were separated in public places, schools, neighborhoods, and employment. Desegregation refers to the movement to abolish segregation. Segregation, the American version of apartheid, preceded the American Civil War (1861–1865) but became enshrined in law in the Southern states after the war. Proponents of segregation alleged that Black people were biologically and intellectually inferior to Caucasians and that this inferiority was inborn and immutable. In this belief system, separation of the races was deemed necessary to preserve public order and prevent the races from attacking each other and tearing society apart.

It was alleged that races possessed an inborn instinct for mutual repugnance and aggression. ...

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