On July 17, 1944, a massive explosion rocked the segregated Navy base at Port Chicago, California, killing more than 300 sailors who were at...

On July 17, 1944, a massive explosion rocked the segregated Navy base at Port Chicago, California, killing more than 300 sailors who were at the docks, critically injuring off-duty men in their bunks, and shattering windows up to a mile away. On August 9th, 244 men refused to go back to work until unsafe and unfair conditions at the docks were addressed. When the dust settled, fifty were charged with mutiny, facing decades in jail and even execution.

The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights (Roaring Brook Press/Square Fish, 2014/17) is a fascinating story of the prejudice and injustice that faced black men and women in America’s armed forces during World War II, and a nuanced look at those who gave their lives in service of a country where they lacked the most basic rights. This thoroughly-researched and documented book can be worked into multiple aspects of the common core curriculum, including history and social studies.

Steve Sheinkin is the award-winning author of fast-paced, cinematic nonfiction histories for young readers. The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights was a National Book Award finalist and received the 2014 Boston Globe/Horn Book Award for Nonfiction. The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism & Treachery, won both the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award and the YALSA award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults. Bomb: The Race to Build-and Steal-the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon was a Newbery Honor Book, a National Book Award Finalist, and winner of the Sibert Award and YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults. Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War was a National Book Award finalist, a YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award winner, and a Boston Globe/Horn Book Nonfiction Award winner. His most recent work is Undefeated: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team. Sheinkin lives in Saratoga Springs, New York, with his wife and two children.


James P. Stancil II is an educator, multimedia journalist, and writer. He is also the President and CEO of Intellect U Well, Inc. a Houston-area NGO dedicated to increasing the joy of reading and media literacy in young people. He can be reached most easily through his LinkedIn page or at [email protected].

 

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