The Port Chicago 50: Racism and Review
During WWII, Black sailors stationed at Port Chicago, CA, were required to load munitions on ships with inadequate training and under supervision that stressed speed over safety. Longshoremen warned that catastrophe was imminent, and on July 17, 1944 that admonition came true with a cataclysmic series of explosions that instantly killed 320 men (⅔ of them African American) and injured hundreds more.
A month later, unsafe conditions inspired hundreds of Black servicemen to refuse to load munitions, an act known as the Port Chicago Mutiny. Fifty men—called the "Port Chicago 50" — were convicted of mutiny and sentenced in ways that would change their lives.
Members of the Contra Costa Bar Association’s Port Chicago Task Force and the Federal Bar Association will present a partial reenactment of the Mutiny Trials and discuss how this event, witnessed by Thurgood Marshall, became a catalyst of the modern civil rights movement, and about the ongoing efforts to seek the exoneration of the Port Chicago 50.
The Ninth Judicial Circuit Historical Society
The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California Historical Society
The Northern District of California Chapter of the Federal Bar Association