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The Port Chicago Sailors: Separate and Unequal

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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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  • Port Chicago disaster survivors, now deceased:
    • Albert Williams Jr.
    • Robert Routh, Jr.
    • Joseph R. Randolph Small Sr.
    • Freddie Meeks
    • Percy Robinson
  • Reenactments of the words of :
    • Thurgood Marshall and Professor Robert Allen


  • Episode Producer and Host:  Theresa Adams
  • Recordings: Dan Collison and Elizabeth Meister at Long Haul Productions from their radio feature, The Port Chicago 50: An Oral History
  • Script Editing: Cheryl Devall
  • Co-Producer: Lisa Rudman
  • Audio Sweetening: Anita Johnson
  • Re-Enactment Voices: Steve Grevious and Rod Akil
  • Excerpts: Dan Collision and Elizabeth Meister at Long Haul Productions allowed us to use excerpts from their radio feature, The Port Chicago 50: An Oral History
  • Staff Producers: Anita Johnson, Salima Hamirani,  Monica Lopez
  • Executive Director: Lisa Rudman
  • Audience Engagement Director/Web Editor: Sabine Blaizin
  • Associate Producer: Aysha Choudary
  • Social Media Mixer: Jackie Marusiack 


  • Uncle Sam Says by Josh White
  • In the Army Now by Bill Boonzy
  • Cue 5 -Even In My Dreams by Soularflair
  • Pictures of Shelter by Shelter


Author: Radio Project

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