New Call to Exonerate the Port Chicago 50

State Sen. Glazer Joins Movement to Exonerate WWII Sailors

State Sen. Steve Glazer joined the growing list of Bay Area politicians Friday in calling on President Barack Obama to exonerate African-American sailors convicted of mutiny at Port Chicago.

The "Port Chicago 50" refused to go back to work loading munitions onto ships after a devastating accident killed 390 people during World War II. 

The Friends of Port Chicago worked to create a memorial at the site of the pier and holds a ceremony every year to remember the dead and honor the men who stood up to discrimination and segregation in the military.

The state Legislature adopted a similar resolution in 2010.

Representatives and senators are asking the president to honor the memories of the men who historians say helped hasten the integration of the Navy.

On July 17, 1944, an explosion blasted two ships docked at the Concord Naval Weapons Station to pieces. Most of the men who died were African-American sailors working under white officers.

Enlisted African-Americans often got the most dangerous and backbreaking jobs. The stevedores at Port Chicago were also poorly trained and rushed in unsafe working conditions.

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