Sheinkin, Steve The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights, 208 pgs. Roaring Book Press, 2014. $19.99. Language: PG (8 swears 0 Fs); Violence: PG; Mature Content: G. NON FICTION
During WWII (and before) African American sailors were not trained for or expected to participate in combat. Instead, they worked in the ship’s laundry, kitchen or worked on shore loading ships. The Port Chicago 50 were a group of sailors who were tasked with loading ammunition (bombs and other dangerous cargo) with no stevedore training or even instructions on safe handling of this material. Plus, the sailors felt they had been singled out for this duty because of their race. When an accident happens and hundreds are killed in the explosion, the black sailors who worked on the docks were blamed, and their side of the story was not allowed to be told. When they are ordered back to work, most refused to obey orders. Charged with Mutiny, can these 50 sailors, with the help of attorney Thurgood Marshall, stand up for their civil rights?
Complete with pictures, photographs and source materials, this narrative non-fiction recounts the struggle of the 50 and others in a very young reader friendly format. The harsh language in the court transcripts has been edited, the description of the explosion is accurate without being gory.
MS, HS - - ADVISABLE Lisa Librarian