G.I. Bill Aid Denied to Black Veterans


 On June 22, 1944, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, aka the GI Bill, to provide a variety of assistance to what is commonly referred to as the Greatest Generation – the veterans who served during WWII. This assistance would come in the form of home loans, unemployment insurance, and college tuition. What sounded great on paper would unfortunately become a huge player in creating a wealth gap between white families and Black families. 

Instead of giving the distribution of funds to the Federal government, Mississippi Congressman and Chairman of the House Veterans Committee John Rankin fought for the disbursement to have state oversight, which created an avenue for Jim Crow segregation to continue. 

Colleges remained segregated and would not accept Black students. Vocational schools had a higher acceptance rate, but were so underfunded they could not provide the same level of academic rigor, so the students were underprepared for work and had more troubles finding employment. Southern segregation laws limiting housing to Black families were allowed to stand, which meant that owning a home – a traditionally accepted way to increase your wealth – was not available to the Black veterans. The VA only cosigned on mortgage loans, so banks were still able to deny mortgages to Black veterans, or only allow them to purchase homes in areas with lower value than their white counterparts. This process is called redlining, which according to Cornell Law School is defined as “systematic denial of services such as mortgages, insurance loans, and other financial services to residents of certain areas, based on their race or ethnicity.” This prevented Black families from buying the homes they wanted to, simply because they were in “white neighborhoods.” 

On November 5, 2021, Seth Moulton (D-MA) sponsored H.R. 5905, the Sgt. Isaac Woodard, Jr. and Sgt. Joseph H. Maddox GI Bill Restoration Act of 2021, to offer enforcement of the GI Bill benefits to the surviving veterans, spouses, and their children. At the time of this writing, in August of 2022, this bill has not even yet passed the House.


Follow the progress of H.R. 5905 to become law.

History.com How the GI Bill was Denied to Black Veterans

CBS News – Many Black Veterans Denied GI Bill Benefits

TIME – What America Owes Black Veterans of World War II