The Port Chicago 50

Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights

The Port Chicago 50

I’m really excited to share this little-known World War II civil rights drama. It follows a group of young African American sailors – many of them teenagers – who are assigned to load ammunition at Port Chicago, a segregated naval base in California. But they are never trained to handle ammunition safely, and are constantly being rushed by their officers. When a terrifying disaster rocks the base, the men face the toughest decision of their lives: do they return to duty as ordered, or do they risk everything to take a stand against segregation in the military?

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“Sheinkin tells this shameful history with the deft, efficient pacing of a novelist…. It’s an impressive work and an inspiring one.” —New York Times

“Sheinkin delivers another meticulously researched WWII story, one he discovered while working on his Newbery Honor book, Bomb…. A 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.” — Kirkus, starred review

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