The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights

portchicago50Written by Steve Sheinkin

This is a well-written civil rights story of the prejudice that faced black men and women in America’s military during WWII. Port Chicago, California was a dock where dangerous bombs and munitions were loaded onto ships headed to war in the Pacific. The working conditions in the segregated Port Chicago facility included a lack of training on how to properly handle explosives and reckless practices encouraged by white officers creating competitions between groups of black sailors loading the explosives. On July 17, 1944 a massive explosion killed 320 service men and injured hundreds more. Surviving black sailors were taken to another base and ordered to return to the same work. More than 200 men refused to continue with the work unless the unsafe and unfair conditions at the docks were resolved. The sailors called it standing up for justice and the Navy called it mutiny. This book does a wonderful job of telling the story of prejudice and injustice in the American armed forces during World War II.

Review by Susan Booth, Churchill Jr. High Media Center
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars)
Interest Level: Grades 7-12

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The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights
Written by Steve Sheinkin
Roaring Brook Press
200 pages
Release Date: January 28, 2014
ISBN: 9781596437968 (hardcover)

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