Sailorcurt posted a new comment on this post from a few weeks ago. I suggest that you take a couple of minutes to read it; he has some good points.
I agree with a lot of what Curt has to say. In particular, it's pretty clear by now that there are elements of culture that hold African-Americans (or blacks, if you prefer) back. It's still hard for a white person to say that without being thought racist, but more and more people in the black (African-American, if you prefer) community have accepted this as fact.
(I first encountered the idea that black American culture was holding people back in the book called More Like Us, written by James Fallows in the late 1980's. He pointed out that African immigrants to the US progress at pretty much the same rate as immigrants from other nations. That still seems to be the case--as it is with Afro-Caribbeans. What, then, holds American-born blacks back? The answer seems to be--let me know if you believe there are other causes--cultural.)
On one level, the idea that culture is part of the problem is encouraging, because it means that black Americans have more control over their destinies than a theory blaming racial disparity on white society would suggest. On the other hand, changing culture is a very tall order.
Still, to the extent that Curt suggests that the need for cultural change means that integration is not needed, or no longer needed, I think he is wrong. To begin with, the elements in black culture still hold Americans back, those elements were created by three hundred and fifty years of slavery and one hundred-plus years of segregation. To walk away from integration is for white society (and I include myself in that, although none of my ancestors came to this country until after 1890) to ignore its role in what happened.
Of more immediate moment, while blacks need not, indeed should not, simply imitate white manners and mannerisms, the dominant culture of this country--the one that African-Americans must be able to succeed in--is one that is largely a "white" culture. (The idea that the dominant culture is predominantly white is a less and less accurate statement in literal terms., because that culture is shifted by its association with immigrants. The "white" culture of the 19th Century regarded the Irish and Italians, for instance, as being of a lower order, but today's "white" culture contains important elements picked up from Irish, Italian and many other immigrant groups. Today, the culture contains elements from Hispanic and Asian cultures, and the dominant "white" culture includes many contributions from African-Americans, of which jazz is only the most obvious. Still, for convenience we might call it white, if only for historical reasons.) If we believe that cultural change would be beneficial, it is important to give African-Americans, particularly children, the chance to understand and come to terms with that culture. Segregation--whether by choice or by law--inhibits that opportunity.
We cannot force a cultural change upon the black community, but we should recognize that it is in our interest--the interest of the people of the United States as a whole--to have the African-American community succeed. So far as I know, no responsible element in any part of our society wants to continue as we are today, when more young African-American men to to prison than to college. Integration is still a most important factor in allowing and encouraging such success; segregation, whatever the cause, will ensure failure.