Transitive Verb: (Merriam-Webster): to eliminate segregation in; specifically : to free of any law, provision, or practice requiring isolation of the members of a particular race in separate units
First Known Use: 1944; In the late 19th century, the United States Supreme Court upheld the “separate but equal” doctrine that kept minorities from being able to integrate with white people. Many Americans think of the Brown v. Board of Education overturning the “separate but equal” doctrine as the beginning of the civil rights movement but, in actuality, the movement had started long before the second ruling. For example, men returning from fighting in World War I started demanding that they receive the equality they had fought for overseas. During World War II, Roosevelt was accused of tolerating racism in the United States after his administration condemned the Nazi racist ideology. Click here for an interesting look at the role of the Communist Party in the civil rights movement prior to The Second Red Scare in the late 1940s (that Kathy mentioned in a comment).
Example: I remember when the practice of busing students from distant parts of the city to local high schools (and vice versa) began in Los Angeles in an effort to desegregate the public schools.
Your turn: Use desegregate in a sentence and tell us about your earliest recollection associated with the word.