In July of 1944, the largest explosion on the mainland of the United States jolted the Bay Area, instantly killing 320 sailors, the majority of whom were young African Americans. The subsequent refusal of fifty of the remaining sailors to resume loading munitions until their safety could be assured resulted in the most significant mutiny trial in U.S. history.
Their cause, supported by Eleanor Roosevelt and Thurgood Marshall, ultimately led to the desegregation of the Navy and later the entire military.
The National Park Service and the Friends of Port Chicago National Memorial will present two free events highlighting the tragic disaster in Concord during World War II that led to the desegregation of the United States military. “The Port Chicago Disaster at 70: A Symposium on Race and the Military during World War II” will be held on Thursday, July 17 at Diablo Valley College, 321 Golf Club Road in Pleasant Hill, from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.