During his remarks, Biden recalled when his mom drove him to a small Catholic school in Delaware:
I got out of the car … and I said, ‘Mom why are all those kids — it was then called colored — Why are all those colored kids in that bus?' Because in Scranton, there wasn't any, there were very few blacks. Said, ‘They're not allowed to go to school with us here in Delaware.' And Milton wasn't what you might call the epicenter of desegregation.
Biden is famously on the record of supporting the idea of segregating children by race and opposed public busing to integrate schools.
From a 1975 interview with National Public Radio:
I think the concept of busing … that we are going to integrate people so that they all have the same access and they learn to grow up with one another and all the rest, is a rejection of the whole movement of black pride, is a rejection of the entire black awareness concept, where black is beautiful, black culture should be studied and the cultural awareness of the importance of their own identity.
During his prayer breakfast speech, Biden also recalled working together with segregationists in the Democrat party.
“We had a lot of flat-out old segregationists in our caucus,” he said. “Didn't agree with one another. But they treated each other with respect even then.”
Biden expressed his desire to return to a time of unity in Congress.
“One of the things I pray for and I mean it. Is that we sort of get back to the place – it's so busy, I think things have changed so much – but that we get to really know each other,” he said. “Its hard to really dislike someone when you know what their going through is the same that you're going through.