Saturday, August 2, 2014

Port Chicago 50

by Steve Sheinkin, Audiobook Read by Dominic Hoffman

This is an oft-forgotten story of WWII.  Sheinkin tells it in a heartbreaking manner with this children's book.  In fact, I had not heard the story at all before the book became a sensation in educational discussion lists. 

During WWII, black servicemen were still segregated from their white peers.  At Port Chicago in San Francisco, those lines were strictly drawn.  Only the black men loaded bombs.  All the officers were white.  After a horrendous explosion killing more than 300 men, several black sailors became afraid of returning to duty. 

Initially, more than two hundred of them refused unless the conditions surrounding their work improved.  When told the punishment for mutiny was death, all but 50 agreed to go back to work.

This book chronicles the trial and controversy that followed.

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