Port Chicago 50

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



This book tells the true story of segregation in the Navy during World War II. African Americans who joined the Navy to serve their country were not allowed to serve on ships. People thought they weren't smart or brave enough. But only the black men were given the job of loading ammunition onto the ships. This was a dangerous job and the men weren't even give the proper training. The officers bet on their crews to see who could load the fastest. Inevitably, an explosion occurred and many men were inured or killed. When the African American sailors decided they would not load ammunition unless conditions changed, they were charged with mutiny and told they could be shot.


This book is part of my son's 8th grade English curriculum, so I decided to read the book along with him. I wasn't even aware of this story and I'm glad that I had the chance to read it. 


The author does a good job of describing the events that led up to the explosion and the actions of the sailors and the Navy afterwards. It is a bit dry at times, but it's a nonfiction story, so what do you expect. My son found it boring, but then again, he is not a fan of history or even reading (except for graphic novels or spy type stories).


This is a great book for schools to use in English or History classes.