The Port Chicago 50 (Hardcover)
Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights
Roaring Brook Press, 9781596437968, 208pp.
Publication Date: January 21, 2014
An astonishing civil rights story from Newbery Honor winner and multiple-time 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.
This thoroughly-researched and documented book can be worked into multiple aspects of the common core curriculum.
About the Author
Praise For The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights…
“Through effective research, Sheinkin re-creates a story that remains largely unknown to many Americans, and is one of the many from World War II about segregation and race that is important to explore with students.” —School Library Journal, starred review
“Sheinkin delivers another meticulously researched WWII story, one he discovered while working on his Newbery Honor book, Bomb....Archival photos appear throughout, and an extensive bibliography, source notes, and index conclude this gripping, even horrific account of a battle for civil rights predating Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
“In this thoroughly researched and well-documented drama, Sheinkin lets the participants tell the story, masterfully lacing the narrative with extensive quotations drawn from oral histories, information from trial transcripts and archival photographs. The event, little known today, is brought to life and placed in historical context, with Eleanor Roosevelt, Thurgood Marshall and Jackie Robinson figuring in the story.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“Sheinkin follows Bomb (rev. 11/12) with an account of another aspect of the Second World War, stemming from an incident that seems small in scope but whose ramifications would go on to profoundly change the armed forces and the freedom of African Americans to serve their country.” —The Horn Book