This week, we're highlighting some great picks for middle schoolers, today Maria highlights one of her favorite nonfiction choices:
The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights by Steve Sheinkin
They say truth is more amazing than fiction and the story of the Chicago 50 is one of those cases. I had never heard of these men before reading Steve Sheinkin’s book.
African American sailors at Port Chicago, a California naval base were assigned the dangerous task of loading explosive weapons onto cargo ships without the proper training and under overloaded work schedules. When an explosion occurred that killed nearly 300 soldiers in 1944, those left who were assigned to keep loading the ships demanded better training and reduced work hours. When these demands were not accepted, the men refused to work. Subsequently they were charged with mutiny, brought to trial and found guilty. The case became a national news story and eventually the NACCP hired lawyer Thurgood Marshall to defend the sailors.
If you like history and reading about incredible everyday people who stood up and made a difference when faced with injustice, you will like these men’s story and the book will stay with you.