COLUMBUS- State Representatives Terrence Upchurch (D-Cleveland) and Adam Miller (D-Columbus) today introduced a House Resolution calling on Congress to pass HR 1255, the Sgt. Isaac Woodard, Jr. and Sgt. Joseph H. Maddox GI Bill Restoration Act of 2023.
“Black WWII Veterans were denied their benefits unjustly, and HR 1255 is the first step in getting this unacceptable issue resolved,” Rep. Upchurch.
“The GI Bill and the VA Home loan powered our economy and the Greatest Generation,” said Rep. Miller. “In practice, this opportunity for prosperity was denied to Black World War II veterans and their descendants. This resolution provides an opportunity to shed light on a manifest injustice and make this right.”
HR 1255 would:
- Extend access to the VA Loan Guaranty Program to the surviving spouse and certain direct descendants of Black World War II veterans who are alive at the time of the bill’s enactment;
- Extend access to the Post-911 GI Bill educational assistance benefits to the surviving spouse and certain direct descendants of Black World War II veterans alive at the time of the bill’s enactment;
- Require a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report outlining the number of individuals who received the educational and housing benefits;
- Establish a Blue-Ribbon Panel of independent experts to study inequities in the distribution of benefits and assistance administered to female and minority members of the Armed Forces and provide recommendations on additional assistance to repair those inequities.
Following World War II, Congress passed legislation for all who fought for our country so that their sacrifice would be rewarded with a range of benefits, including low-cost mortgages and low-interest loans to start a business or farm, unemployment compensation, and education assistance.
But, cultural and societal hurdles denied access for many minority veterans. Roughly 19% of white World War II veterans earned a college degree due in part to the benefits offered by the G.I. Bill, compared to just 6% percent of Black veterans.
Since the GI Bill was federally funded but locally administered, practices such as redlining and outright racism denied Black veterans the ability to use their home loan benefits.