Full episode
37: The Job That Takes Over Your Life
Act Three

The Port Chicago 50

The story of the worst stateside disaster during World War II, at Port Chicago, an ammunition dump for the navy just north of San Francisco. Black workers were assigned to load ammo onto ships under such unsafe conditions that on July 17, 1944, two ships blew up, killing 320 men. When 50 survivors of the blast refused to return to work under the same unsafe conditions, they were court-martialed and sentenced to up to 15 years of hard labor. There have been many attempts to clear the names of these fifty men, including one in 1944 by then-civil rights attorney Thurgood Marshall. Dan Collison spoke with five survivors of the blast about what really happened. See the Long Haul Productions website for more. (20 minutes)