The act or process of separating a race, class, or ethnic group from a society's general population.
Segregation in the United States has been practiced, for the most part, on African Americans. Segregation by law, or de jure segregation, of African Americans was developed by state legislatures and local lawmaking bodies in southern states shortly after the Civil War. De facto segregation, or inadvertent segregation, continues to exist in varying degrees in both northern and southern states.
De facto segregation arises from social and economic factors and cannot be traced to official government action. For example, ZONING laws that forbid multifamily housing can have the effect of excluding all but the wealthiest persons from a particular community.
De jure segregation was instituted in the southern states in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The state legislatures in the
In 1980, the JUSTICE DEPARTMENT and the Yonkers branch of the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) filed a civil lawsuit against the city of Yonkers, New York, the Yonkers School Board, and the Yonkers Community Development Agency, charging that the city had engaged in systematic segregation for the previous 30 years. The plaintiffs alleged that the city government had disproportionately restricted new subsidized housing projects to certain areas of the city already heavily populated by minorities. The case marked the first time racial segregation charges were levied against housing and school officials in the same suit.
After years of preparation and a three-month trial, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York found that the defendants had in fact segregated the city's housing and schools based on racial identity. United States v. Yonkers Board of Education 624 F.Supp. 1276 (S.D.N.Y. 1985). The city was ordered to designate sites for public housing by November 1986, but the city refused to comply during the appeals process. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld the RACIAL DISCRIMINATION rulings (837 F.2d 1181 [2nd Cir. 1987]) but did not resolve the compliance issue. The U.S. Supreme Court denied the city's petition for certiorari, and in January 1988 the parties agreed to a CONSENT DECREE that established a new housing plan. The Yonkers city council voted to approve the decree, which was submitted to the trial court and accepted. The city was to pass...