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A Painstaking New Study Reveals the Persistence of U.S. Racial Segregation

Racial segregation doubled between 1880 and 1940 all across the country, in rural areas as well as cities.
Black school children pose with their teacher outside a segregated one-room school in South Carolina, 1916.
Black school children pose with their teacher outside a segregated one-room school in South Carolina, 1916.Shutterstock

The United States—and Americans—has long been divided along racial lines, divisions that date back to the legacy of slavery, the bloody Civil War, the horrors of the Jim Crow South, and now to the persistent poverty of so many black urban neighborhoods.

But how has segregation really evolved in this country? We like to believe that our evolution away from slavery and to a modern, industrial nation has made us a less segregated, more racially integrated society.