WASHINGTON, D.C. (WSPA) – South Carolina and Massachusetts Congressmen look to support Black World War II veterans with the reintroduction of the Sgt. Isaac Woodard, Jr. and Sgt. Joseph H. Maddox G.I. Restoration Act.
Named after two Black WWII veterans who faced life-altering injustices due to their race, the legislation reintroduced by Congressman James E. Clyburn (SC-06) and Seth Moulton (MA-06) would extend access to the VA Loan Guaranty Program to the surviving spouse and certain direct descendants of Black WWII veterans who are alive at the time of the bill’s enactment.
It would also extend access to the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill educational assistance benefits to the surviving spouse and certain direct descendants of Black WWII veterans alive at the time of the bill’s enactment.
“We must restore the possibility of full economic mobility and the promise of the original G.I. Bill to all impacted by these discriminatory federal practices. This legislation will honor that commitment,” said Congressman Clyburn.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt first signed the G.I. Bill into law in 1944 to support those who fought for our country with a range of benefits including low-cost mortgages and low-interest loans to start a business or farm, unemployment compensation, and education assistance.
The opportunities listed in the Bill were denied to Black WWII returning home from service. Congressman Clyburn and Moulton are seeking to right this wrong.
“We all know the G.I. Bill lifted up a generation of WWII veterans and built the American century. It’s been called the most successful piece of legislation ever. But most Americans don’t know that many Black veterans were left out: denied benefits, denied homes, denied the generational wealth that comes from going to college,” said Congressman Moulton.
In addition to extended access, the legislation would require a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report outlining the number of individuals who received the educational and housing benefits.
It would also 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. Recommendations are to be provided on additional assistance to repair those inequities.
“While our generation didn’t commit this wrong, we should be committed to making it right,” said Congressman Moulton. “This legislation honors our nation’s commitment to America’s vets.”