What's in a Word | All Blogs


A take-away word

By Debra Dobbins

The word “desegregation” has a historical connection to words such as “egregious” and “gregarious.”

As noted in the Aug. 18th entry, these words stem from a Latin word, greg, which meant herd.

“Segregation” is separation from the herd, or, to use a modern term, society. Growing up, I learned many instances from news reports of how blacks were excluded from society. They were forced to go to separate schools, could not eat at certain lunch counters, saw public drinking fountains marked for white use only and had to use waiting rooms set aside “for coloreds” in train and bus stations.

The word “desegregation” was formed by adding the prefix “de.” This prefix means, among other things, taking away. (Think of the math term “deduct.”) So, in a way, desegregation is the taking away of the practice of taking away the fundamental rights of every American.

Achieving desegregation has been a long battle in our nation. See the story below for a few details on how Jefferson Thomas helped make a difference in that battle.

 


 

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