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The GI Bill and Race

I didn’t know this.

From NYT:

Katznelson (author of When Affirmative Action Was White’: Uncivil Rights)¬†reserves his harshest criticism for the unfair application of the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, known as the G.I. Bill of Rights, a series of programs that poured $95 billion into expanding opportunity for soldiers returning from World War II. Over all, the G.I. Bill was a dramatic success, helping 16 million veterans attend college, receive job training, start businesses and purchase their first homes. Half a century later, President Clinton praised the G.I. Bill as ”the best deal ever made by Uncle Sam,” and said it ”helped to unleash a prosperity never before known.”

But Katznelson demonstrates that African-American veterans received significantly less help from the G.I. Bill than their white counterparts. ”Written under Southern auspices,” he reports, ”the law was deliberately designed to accommodate Jim Crow.” He cites one 1940’s study that concluded it was ”as though the G.I. Bill had been earmarked ‘For White Veterans Only.’ ” Southern Congressional leaders made certain that the programs were directed not by Washington but by local white officials, businessmen, bankers and college administrators who would honor past practices. As a result, thousands of black veterans in the South — and the North as well — were denied housing and business loans, as well as admission to whites-only colleges and universities. They were also excluded from job-training programs for careers in promising new fields like radio and electrical work, commercial photography and mechanics. Instead, most African-Americans were channeled toward traditional, low-paying ”black jobs” and small black colleges, which were pitifully underfinanced and ill equipped to meet the needs of a surging enrollment of returning soldiers.

Something as American as the GI Bill which acted as an economic stimulus for middle America was administered in a racial way. I think this is remarkable. This reminds us that race is an all-encompassing issue in United States. I thank Linda for pointing this out.

Update: This is Katznelson’s web site –¬†Of the 3,229 GI Bill guaranteed home, business, and farm loans made in 1947 in Mississippi, for example, only two were offered to black veterans. At no other time in American history has so much money and so many resources been put at the service of the generation completing education, entering the work force, and forming families. Comparatively little of this largesse was available to black veterans. With these policies, the Gordian Knot binding race to class tightened.

By |2012-04-05T20:48:45-04:00March 18th, 2012|Civil Rights, Military, Race|Comments Off on The GI Bill and Race

Military wives support Barack Obama

This is a nice commercial made by the Blue Star Families – military families. It is simple. It is straightforward and presents the facts. John McCain has not supported military families. He even campaigned against the new GI Bill. He didn’t even vote on the bill. He was at a campaign fundraiser when the vote was being cast in the Senate. Military families for Barack Obama. That has a nice ring to it.

By |2008-10-14T15:43:03-04:00October 14th, 2008|Election 2008, Military|Comments Off on Military wives support Barack Obama

Senator Webb passes GI Bill

It is very hard as a freshman Senator to get anything of substance done in Congress but Senator Jim Webb of Virginia has done exactly that. He pushed the GI Bill through both houses of Congress. He attached the bill to other legislation and dared the President to veto it. Senator Jim Webb may be that rarest of politicians. One who has principles and sticks by them. He is someone who said that he supports the troops and then proved to EVERYONE that he, in fact, supports the troops.

From WaPo:

POLITICAL PROMISES are easy to make, harder to keep. So it is a testament to the tenacity of Sen. James Webb (D-Va.) and the justice of his cause that Congress has enacted a new GI Bill for war veterans. The freshman senator’s ability to work across party lines means that the men and women who risk their lives for America’s well-being will, in return, get expanded education benefits, along with opportunities for better futures.

The expansion of education benefits for Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans is part of the $257.5 billion emergency spending bill that passed the Senate on Thursday. The House gave its approval earlier, and President Bush is expected to sign it this week. The timing is fitting, considering that 64 years ago last Sunday, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed into law the original GI Bill, which made a college education affordable for millions of World War II veterans. Today’s warriors are equally deserving, but the system, designed for a peacetime military, has not kept pace with the costs of college. Mr. Webb’s bill — The Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act — is true to the original in providing full tuition, housing and living costs. (more…)


There are very few politicians that I admire.
As I read more and more about these guys and gals, they really don’t resemble anything that I’m familiar with. Senator Jim Webb maybe that rare guy who promises that he will be over on Tuesday to help you built that back deck and on Tuesday he shows up to help.

I congratulate Senator Webb and Senator Hagel for getting this bill through. I also congratulate our troops for a job well done. Here’s their reward.

By |2008-07-01T03:11:10-04:00July 1st, 2008|Afghanistan, Bush Administration, Iraq, Military|5 Comments
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