Is the GI bill responsible for the problems inner-city blacks face today?

World War II changed the American economic climate permanently in many ways, from helping raise us out of the depression to opening the door to allowing women in to the broader workforce. But did it also widen the gap between blacks and whites in America at the war’s conclusion, specifically because of the GI Bill?

One of the provisions of the GI Bill was that veterans got subsidized loans for a college education and houses in the suburbs. However, these benefits were routinely denied to black veterans, who were relegated to housing projects in the inner city and trade schools. Neither of those gave much upward mobility at all - the trades didn’t pay as well as jobs requiring a college education.

The discrimination against giving blacks access to houses in the suburbs, however, may be even more insidious. For one, inner-city housing projects have severe disadvantages compared to owning a home - they cannot be bought or sold, so it is difficult to accrue real wealth to pass on between generations, and they had access to much worse schools than those in suburban areas. These factors led to a semi-permanent underclass that has persisted to this day. And it wasn’t just government-mandated discrimination in the form of the GI bill that led to this - even if a black family had enough money to buy in the suburbs, they were often prevented from doing so by discriminating whites who would not sell to them in white neighborhoods (“restrictive covenants”).

So I think I have shown pretty well that there was significant discrimination back then and that African-Americans did not benefit nearly as much from the post-war boom, so I guess the debate is this - how much influence did these setbacks back then have on the situation today?

Citations - not much specifically but there are plenty of papers on the subject of African-Americans getting shafted by the GI bill (most are hosted on JSTOR and have a pay wall).

p10 talks about how white home ownership rose disproportionately to blacks in 1950s

Some, but not nearly as much as other forms of discrimination (historic lack of inherited wealth, often inferior primary and secondary schools). Not to say discrimination in college and in housing isn’t significant, just that there’s a hell of a lot more stuff out there that affected the entire population, and for longer.

There is also a medium between white suburbs and living in the projects. Lots of black people could and did own homes in black neighborhoods.

Interesting idea. I think it is partly true-in the sense that most black people in the North, Midwest, were immigrants from the Deep South.
These folks wound up in the inner cities, just as factories and jobs were leaving the urban areas.
Take a city like Boston, MA. In the the 1940’s-60’s, Boston had tons of small factories making everything from electric motors to raincoats.
These are all gone-the jobs in Boston now are in academia, services, and financial/government.
No more manual labor jobs, and precious little for anyone who is unskilled.

Well the bill didn’t so much put blacks further down as raise poor whites up a few notches. Hence while America as a whole became a middle class nation while blacks remained poor.