OVERRIDE

The Port Chicago 50

Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights

Steve Sheinkin

Roaring Brook Press

An astonishing civil rights story from Newbery Honor winner and National Book Award finalist Steve Sheinkin.

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.

This is a fascinating story of the prejudice 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.


BOOK EXCERPTS

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FIRST HERO
 
 
HE WAS GATHERING dirty laundry when the bombs started falling.
It was early on the morning of December 7, 1941, at the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and Mess Attendant Dorie Miller had just gone on duty aboard the battleship USS West Virginia. A six-foot-three, 225-pound Texan, Miller was the ship’s heavyweight boxing champ. But his everyday duties were somewhat less challenging. As one of the ship’s African American mess attendants, he cooked and cleaned for the white sailors.
Miller was below deck, picking up clothes, when the first
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REVIEWS

Praise for The Port Chicago 50

"Through effective research, Sheinkin re-creates a story that remains largely unknown to many Americans, and is one of the many from World War II about segregation and race that is important to explore with students." - School Library Journal, starred review

"Sheinkin delivers another meticulously researched WWII story, one he discovered while working on his Newbery Honor book, Bomb....Archival photos appear throughout, and an extensive bibliography, source notes, and index conclude this gripping, even horrific account of a battle for civil rights predating Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr." --Publishers Weekly, starred review 
 
"In this thoroughly researched and well-documented drama, Sheinkin lets the participants tell the story, masterfully lacing the narrative with extensive quotations drawn from oral histories, information from trial transcripts and archival photographs. The event, little known today, is brought to life and placed in historical context, with Eleanor Roosevelt, Thurgood Marshall and Jackie Robinson figuring in the story." - Kirkus Reviews, starred review
 
"Sheinkin follows Bomb (rev. 11/12) with an account of another aspect of the Second World War, stemming from an incident that seems small in scope but whose ramifications would go on to profoundly change the armed forces and the freedom of African Americans to serve their country." - The Horn Book
 
 

Through extensive research, Sheinkin effectively re-creates

In the Press

‘The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights,’ by Steve Sheinkin - The Washington Post
Disaster, mutiny and the fight for civil rights during WWII.
- The Washington Post

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Steve Sheinkin

  • Steve Sheinkin  is the award-winning author of several fascinating books on American history, including The Notorious Benedict Arnold, which won the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults, the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award for nonfiction, and received three starred reviews; and Bomb, a National Book Award finalist and recipient of five starred reviews. He lives in Saratoga Springs, NY.
  • Steve Sheinkin
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READING GUIDE

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Teacher's Guide
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The Port Chicago 50

Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights

Steve Sheinkin

Boston Book Review - Winner, National Book Awards - Longlist, Boston Book Review - Winner, National Book Awards - Longlist
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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Roaring Brook Press

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