Here’s today's labor history:
On this date in 1944, two ammunition ships exploded at Port Chicago, California, killing 322, including 202 African-Americans assigned by the Navy to handle explosives. It was the worst home-front disaster of World War II. The resulting refusal of 258 African-Americans to return to the dangerous work underpinned the trial and conviction of 50 of the men in what is called the Port Chicago Mutiny. 47 of the 50 were released in 1946 and in 1999, President Clinton pardoned Freedie Meeks, one of the few members of the Port Chicago 50 who was still alive.
Today’s labor quote is by Thurgood Marshall, the future Supreme Court Justice, who was then the chief special counsel for the N.A.A.C.P., who went to California to observe the Chicago 50 trial.
Thurgood Marshall, who said:
“This is not 50 men on trial for mutiny. This is the Navy on trial for its whole vicious policy toward Negroes.”
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