Jul. 17, 2019

Why Reparations? July 17,1944: The Port Chicago Explosion Seventy-Fifth Anniversary Is Today

Did you know that the 75th Anniversary of Port Chicago Naval Shipyard is today? Do you know anything about this massive accident that was caused by discrimination, segregation, Jim Crowism, and disrespect of black men in the US Navy? I will provide some knowledge on this incident today on my blog.

My, Why Reparations series continues this morning on the seventy-fifth anniversary of the massive explosion that occurred on the docks at Port Chicago, California.

If you don't know about this incident that ended the lives of 202 black sailors instantly at 10:18 PM. It behooves you to listen to my reading about the racist crime that was perpetrated on the black sailors that were on duty that night in July 1944.

The actions were predicated on the US Navy's premise that black sailors were the ones who were given the most menial duties. In this case in Port Chicago, those duties involved the highest degree of personal danger.

The explosion was so horrendous, so cataclysmic, that it registered 3.4 on the Richter​ Scale. The 350 men who were near the explosion, 202 of them black were killed instantaneously​.

These black men were given no training in handling these dangerous munitions either before or after the explosion. The explosion leads​ to a group of black​ sailors,

The Port Chicago 50, 50 of the 325 black navy sailors who refused to work unless the conditions at the loading dock were significantly improved. They were threatened with death by firing squads by these 50 men felt duty-bound to fight for safe working conditions

These sailors were put on trial for mutiny​ and convicted by the Navy for simply fighting for the right of fairness. ​ Listen to two articles that described the Port Chicago disaster from the seventieth​ anniversary in 2014.