The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights by Steve Sheinkin (2014)
Many of these guys were little more than teenagers, and far from being organized rabble-rousers were just scared of being blown up on the job. It seemed like the outcome was obviously a huge miscarriage of justice. Their concerns weren't taken seriously and they were convicted on pretty flimsy evidence. It seems like everything in the trial was basically ignored in favor of a predetermined outcome.
The worst part is that in many ways, things haven't changed that much. As many of us are aware, the justice system isn't exactly friendly towards non-whites and it's frustrating to know just how long these situations have been happening with little headway towards real equality. I'm glad books like this are being written to remind us how many times this sort of thing has happened. I hadn't even heard about this particular episode in history, which just goes to show you how many stories about racial injustice there are.
This novel is written for teens, and I read it for my Not-So-Young Adult book group at work. It was nominated for a National Book Award, and I can see why. Although I wouldn't exactly call it enjoyable, I found it clear and informative and it held my interest throughout. Recommend if you're interested in learning more about the history of civil rights.
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