Academic journal article Language Arts

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

Academic journal article Language Arts

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

Article excerpt

The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights Written by Steve Sheinkin Roaring Brook, 2014, 200 pp., ISBN 978-1-59643-796-8

Noted nonfiction author Steve Sheinkin has created another riveting title focusing on a little known aspect of American history and the unsung Port Chicago 50. Written in an engaging manner, Sheinkin masterfully incorporates the stories of those who lived through this event, demonstrating that history does not take place inside a vacuum and is not simply a series of dates. He highlights the institutional racism present in the military and how this affected the everyday lives of African Americans who served.

Initially, African Americans who enlisted in the navy in the 1940s were only allowed to serve in lower-level positions, such as mess attendants. Others, including those profiled in this book, were given dangerous jobs, like loading ammunition onto ships at a base in California-though they received little training on how to do this properly. Only African American sailors loaded ammunition, while those who gave orders about how to do this were White. …

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