Sunday, April 17, 2016

The Port Chicago Mutiny: has the time come for exoneration?

There's new pressure to exonerate the Port Chicago mutineers. Will it be enough? Gary Peterson has this column in The Mercury News. Excerpt:
Refresher: On July 17, 1944, a ship being loaded with munitions at the docks in Port Chicago north of Concord was virtually vaporized by two cataclysmic explosions that killed 320 men -- 202 of them African-American sailors. The blasts were felt as far away as Boulder City, Nevada. It was the worst homefront disaster of World War II.
Shortly thereafter, with white officers on 30 days' leave granted them after the tragedy, 258 African-American enlisted men were ordered back to the docks to resume the supremely hazardous duty of loading bombs onto ships at Port Chicago. They refused.

After being threatened with punishment, 208 relented. Fifty stood fast. They were charged with mutiny and sentenced to prison.

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