1550s, "act of segregating," from Late Latin segregationem (nominative segregatio), noun of action from past participle stem of segregare (see segregate). Meaning "state of being segregated" is from 1660s. Specific U.S. sense of "enforced separation of races" is attested from 1883.
Rarely are we met with a challenge, not to our growth or abundance, or our welfare or our security, but rather to the values and the purposes and the meaning of our beloved nation. The issue of equal rights for American Negroes is such an issue. And should we defeat every enemy, and should we double our wealth and conquer the stars, and still be unequal to this issue, then we will have failed as a people and as a nation. [Lyndon Johnson, speech introducing Voting Rights Act, March 15, 1965]
segregation seg·re·ga·tion (sěg'rĭ-gā'shən)
The removal of certain parts or segments from a whole or mass.
The separation of paired alleles especially during meiosis, so that the members of each pair of alleles appear in different gametes.
The policy and practice of imposing the separation of races. In the United States, the policy of segregation denied African-Americans their civil rights and provided inferior facilities and services for them, most noticeably in public schools (see Brown versus Board of Education), housing, and industry. (See integration, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and separate but equal.)