Segregation means to separate groups of people based on race or cultural differences. Segregation can be forced or self-imposed.
In the southern United States, the policy was created by state governments at the end of Reconstruction in 1876 and the reemergence of Democrat Party control of Southern state legislatures. The Democrat Party has been known as the party of segregation ever since.
Woodrow Wilson, the second Democrat president after the Civil War, introduced segregation into the United States government Civil Service, requiring separate bathrooms and cafeterias in federal buildings and installations throughout the land, including Northern and Western states which had fought for the Union and existed without laws requiring segregation of the races. US military training and units also were segregated.
Segregation was allowed in public schools by the U.S. Supreme Court in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), but then reversed after 20 years of Democrat control of both Houses of Congress and the presidency when President Eisenhower appointed former California Republican Gov. Earl Warren as Chief Justice. The Warren Court ordered school desegregation in Brown v. Board of Education (1954). As a reaction in the 1960s, Democrats "wanted policies that privileged whites."
In addition to the public schools, segregation existed in the United States military up until 1947. In the Democrat-controlled South and federal government it existed in public accommodations like restrooms, drinking fountains, cafeterias, movie theaters, buses, trains, sports arenas and hotels before the federal government reversed itself and banned it with the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
In 1972 Black parents filed a desegregation lawsuit in Massachusetts, the only state Republican President Richard Nixon did not win re-election in. The NAACP argued the case. According to Politico, nowhere did the sentiment of people opposed to desegregation play out more dramatically than in Boston. In mid 1974, a federal judge found that 20 years after Brown v. Board, Boston officials deliberately kept the schools segregated, and that the city must integrate at once. He drew up a busing plan. Black students from Roxbury would attend South Boston High School, while Irish Americans from Southie would board buses to Roxbury.
The first buses rolled through Boston in September 1974—and racial violence engulfed the city. White mobs hurled bricks at school buses with terrified black children inside. Then, on October 7, a Haitian immigrant was beaten savagely by a white mob in South Boston. In the coming months, the list of casualties would grow. The city became a cauldron of racial hatred.
Each year after passage of the 1965 Civil Rights Act up until 1977, the Democratic controlled House passed at least one new law designed to restrain school integration—often in the guise of anti-busing legislation. Until 1974, the Senate rejected those bills. But as white resistance to busing escalated in many cities across the country, the House Democrats anti-busing majority began to pull more Democratic senators to their side.In 1975, Sen. Joseph Biden, later vice-president and President Obama's token segregationist, proposed an amendment that gutted Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which enabled the federal government to cut off funding to school districts that refused to integrate. Politico writes of the whole sordid affair,
Biden morphed into a leading anti-busing crusader—all the while continuing to insist that he supported the goal of school desegregation, he only opposed busing as the means to achieve that end. This stance, which many of Biden’s liberal and moderate colleagues also held, was clever but disingenuous. It enabled Biden to choose votes over principles, while acting as if he was not doing so....In a seminal moment, the Senate thus turned against desegregation. The Senate had supported the 1964 Civil Rights Act, 1965 Voting Rights Act and 1968 Fair Housing Act....the Senate remained the last bastion for those who supported strong integration policies. Biden stormed that bastion...
A Boston NAACP leader said, “An anti-busing amendment is an anti-desegregation amendment, and an anti-desegregation amendment is an anti-black amendment.” Republican Sen. Edward Brooke, the first black senator ever to be directly elected, called Biden's amendment “the greatest symbolic defeat for civil rights since 1964.” Brooke accused Biden of leading an assault on integration.During a Democratic party presidential primary debate before the 2020 presidential election, California senator Kamala Harris confronted then frontrunner former VP Joe Biden over his role in repealing sections of the 1964 Civil Rights Act that restored funding to schools refusing to integrate with Blacks after the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education desegregation order. The Biden Amendment, originally written by segregationist Democrat Sen. James Eastland, but with Biden's name on it with few modifications, restored federal funding for schools that refused to comply with court ordered desegregation and busing. Harris told MSNBC's Chris Matthews:
If those segregationists would have had their way, I would not be a member of the United States Senate, and I certainly would not be a serious candidate for President of the United States. ... Barack Obama would not have been in a position to appoint Joe Biden Vice President of the United States. So the consequences of their actions were very real, and on the shoulders of the history of our country of really a very bad, awful, dark, dangerous, and lethal time.
- Segregated college housing
- Jim Crow, for a history in the United States
- Apartheid, for a similar history in South Africa
- Democratic party
- Joseph R. Biden
- The Myth of the Racist Republicans
- 'That little girl was me': Kamala Harris says she was a victim of Biden's anti-busing racial policies, by Ellie Bufkin, Washington Examiner, June 27, 2019.
- How a Young Joe Biden Turned Liberals Against Integration, By JASON SOKOL, Politico, August 04, 2015.
- Will Black Voters Still Love Biden When They Remember Who He Was?, By Eric Levitz, Intelligencer, Mar. 12, 2019.