Today in Labor History

Labor history is OUR history

July 17, 1944


An explosion while loading munitions onto a cargo vessel at the military depot at Port Chicago, California, kills 320 and injures nearly 400 sailors (mostly African-American enlisted men who were part of a segregated unit) and civilians.  Following the disaster, many of the surviving sailors refused to resume loading munitions, citing unsafe working conditions.  Fifty men were convicted of mutiny and received 15-year sentences.  It was the largest mass mutiny trial in U.S. history.  (Photo:  Freddie Meeks, one of the “Port Chicago 50.”)


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