An astonishing World War II military story of civil rights from New York Times bestselling author and Newbery Honor recipient Steve Sheinkin.
A National Book Award Finalist
A YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction Finalist
A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
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- ISBN-13: 9781596437968
- ISBN-10: 1596437960
- Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
- Publish Date: January 2014
- Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.05 pounds
- Page Count: 208
- Reading Level: Ages 10-14
Little boys and girls, join hands
Remembering the sacrifices and successes of African Americans—from unexpected champions of civil rights to talented performers who dreamed big—is one of the most inspiring ways to celebrate Black History Month. If we keep teaching our children well, racism just may someday be a thing of the past.
In The Port Chicago 50, Steve Sheinkin, author of the Newbery Honor book Bomb, tells the harrowing story of the fight for the lives and rights of 50 black sailors.
On July 17, 1944, more than 300 sailors were killed and almost 400 were injured when several thousand tons of explosives aboard two ships detonated at the Port Chicago naval base in California. When the surviving sailors went back to work, they refused to obey orders to load munitions again. They were too scared to do such a dangerous job without the proper training. It was also worrisome that no white sailors were ordered to load munitions at Port Chicago. Charged with mutiny and facing the death penalty after their continued refusal, the sailors became unsung heroes in the heated battle for racial equality.
Painstakingly researched through recorded interviews, The Port Chicago 50 vividly recounts the fear and anxiety surrounding the explosion. From 17-year-old sailors to respected, 23-year-old informal leader Joseph Smalls, Sheinkin provides powerful first-hand accounts of these events. Long, complicated court transcripts and documents are presented as edge-of-your-seat drama.
Sheinkin does an admirable job describing for young readers the profound impact these sailors had on civil rights and the integration of the Navy. This is a fascinating read on an important event in U.S. history.