Friday, February 6, 2015

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

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

Another adventure into nonfiction books! I snuck this one out of my 'highly recommended books' stash, I agree with the recommendation.

An amazon summary, "An astonishing civil rights story from Newbery Honor winner and National Book Award finalist Steve Sheinkin.
On July 17, 1944, a massive explosion rocked the segregated Navy base at Port Chicago, California, killing more than 300 sailors who were at the docks, critically injuring off-duty men in their bunks, and shattering windows up to a mile away. On August 9th, 244 men refused to go back to work until unsafe and unfair conditions at the docks were addressed. When the dust settled, fifty were charged with mutiny, facing decades in jail and even execution.

This is a fascinating story of the prejudice that faced black men and women in America's armed forces during World War II, and a nuanced look at those who gave their lives in service of a country where they lacked the most basic rights." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

In San Francisco Bay during World War II, there were black men who had signed up for the navy to help fight in the war. There ambitions were to become sailors, to fight for their country, and to make a difference.

What they did was load live bombs into the cargo holds on ships without any formal training.

Say it with me, "Whatttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt *censored noises*".

Not so long ago, the United States of America was still a segregated country and the civil rights movement was really getting started.

This book follows the early exploits of black men being in the navy and what trials they started to go through to stop segregation, to be treated fairly. It just scratches the surface of the struggle, but concentrates a lot on the court battle the Port Chicago 50 faced while being accused of mutiny.

The writing in this book read like a fiction book (which is always a super plus) and the book had different historic photos and documents throughout the text to enhance the story.

I had never heard about the Port Chicago 50 before and I hope that more stories like this begin to surface.

Happy reading!

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