Volume 31

Heroes Abroad, Forgotten at Home: The Case for Reparation for Black WWII Veterans

by Micah Poulson

Over one million Black Americans served during World War II. Black soldiers earned acclaim and awards in the air as the Tuskegee Airmen, on the ground as 761st Tanker Battalion, and at sea as Sailor Doris Miller. Despite their extraordinary sacrifices, most Black WWII veterans never received their GI Bill benefits. Although the GI Bill is a federal program, soldiers could only be approved for benefits in their local state offices. In the South, with the widespread racism of the period, local officials almost always denied Black soldiers applying for their benefits and the North was only slightly better. This Note argues that Black World War II veterans or their descendants should receive their GI Bill benefits that they were originally denied. This Note further argues that to fully address the time and wealth lost to American discrimination, remaining Black WWII veterans or their direct descendants should receive individual compensation to fully address the harm committed.

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