Thursday, July 9, 2015

Thurgood Marshall on Port Chicago "mutiny"

Thurgood Marshall, chief counsel for the NAACP, declared: "This is not 50 men on trial for mutiny. This is the Navy on trial for its whole vicious policy toward Negroes. Negroes in the Navy don't mind loading ammunition. They just want to know why they are the only ones doing the loading! They want to know why they are segregated; why they don't get promoted, [and] why the Navy disregarded official warnings by the San Francisco waterfront unions . . . that an explosion was inevitable if they persisted in using untrained seamen in the loading of ammunition."
David M. Kennedy, Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945 (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1999), ch. 21

For more on the 1944 Port Chicago disaster and the mutiny trial of the African American sailors, see Barry Bergman, War, ‘mutiny’ and civil rights: Remembering Port Chicago, UC Berkeley News Center, July 10, 2014; Port Chicago Mutiny (1944),

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