Congress passed the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, or GI Bill, providing “government issue” educational and financial benefits to veterans. The bill offered veterans unemployment compensation, financial aid for college, and low-interest home loans.
The National Defense Education Act of 1958 was passed as a response to the successful launch of the Soviet Sputnik satellites. The act approved grants for American schools that focused on language, mathematics, and science, and appropriated $295 million for college student loans. The act’s measures were intended to strengthen American education and position the nation as a leader in technology, defense, and security.
Black veteran James Meredith arrived to begin classes at the University of Mississippi. Thousands of whites rioted, resulting in two deaths and 160 injuries. US troops were sent in to suppress the violence. Despite threats on his life, Meredith graduated in 1963. He had originally been rejected from the university because of his race.