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California’s Port Chicago
75 years ago during World War II a deadly disaster hit when sailors, most of them African-Americans, were loading ammunition onto ships at California’s Port Chicago. 320 men were killed and while the White officers were given leave time and commended for heroic efforts, 328 of the surviving Black enlistees were sent to load ammunition on another ship. When they refused, fifty men were charged and convicted of mutiny. It was the largest mutiny trial in U.S. naval history, and an early spark in the Civil Rights struggle.
Image Credit: Freddie Meeks, sailor in the disaster at weapons shipping depot in Port Chicago, Calif., holds a picture of himself as a young seaman July 14, 1994. He died in 2003. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzelo)
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