Institutionalized racial segregation was ended as an official practice by the efforts of such civil rights activists as Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr., working during the period from the end of World War II through the passage of the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 supported by President Lyndon Johnson. Many of their efforts were acts of civil disobedience aimed at violating the racial segregation rules and laws, such as refusing to give up a seat in the black part of the bus to a white person (Rosa Parks), or holding sit-ins at all-white diners.
Not all racial segregation laws have been repealed in the United States, although Supreme Court rulings have rendered them unenforceable. For instance, the Alabama Constitution still mandates that Separate schools shall be provided for white and colored children, and no child of either race shall be permitted to attend a school of the other race.
A proposal to repeal this provision was narrowly defeated in 2004. However, in a different arena, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in February 2005 in Johnson v. California (125 S. Ct. 1141) that the California Department of Corrections' unwritten practice of racially segregating prisoners in its prison reception centers ? which California claimed was for inmate safety (gangs in California, as throughout the U.S., usually organize on racial lines)? is to be subject to strict scrutiny, the highest level of constitutional review. Although the high court remanded the case back to the lower courts, it is likely
that their decision will have the impact of forcing California to alter its practice of segregating by race in its reception centers.
According to the Civil Rights Project at Harvard University, the actual desegregation of U.S. public schools peaked in 1988; since that time, the schools have, in fact, become more segregated. As of 2005, the present proportion of black students at majority white schools 'a level lower than in any year since 1968.'