Podcast Link: http://longhaulpro.org/port-chicago/
Transcript: Download Word Document
In 1995 Dan Collison spoke with five survivors of the blast about what really happened. (20 minutes) Credit: Long Haul Productions.
The story of the worst stateside disaster during World War II, at Port Chicago, an ammunition dump for the navy just north of San Francisco. Black workers were assigned to load ammo onto ships under such unsafe conditions that on July 17, 1944, two ships blew up, killing 320 men. When 50 survivors of the blast refused to return to work under the same unsafe conditions, they were court-martialed and sentenced to up to 15 years of hard labor. There have been many attempts to clear the names of these fifty men, including one in 1944 by then-civil rights attorney Thurgood Marshall.