Black History: Special Delivery!!


On July 17, 1944, an ammunition ship exploded while being loaded in Port Chicago, California during World War II. The blast killed 332 people and injured another 390. Approximately 2/3 of those killed were African American Sailors. Lack of adequate procedures and lack of training were seen as the primary causes of the explosion. At the time, Navy units assigned to the loading of munitions were typically segregated African American units. The men had not been trained in handling of munitions. Safety standards were also not properly adhered to due to the rush to keep pace with the loading schedules. On the evening of July 17, two merchant ships were in the process of being loaded with 4,600 tons of explosives, depth charges, and ammunition. There was also another 400 tons of explosives that were on rail cars that were nearby. A series of several explosions occurred at 10:18pm. The explosions were reportedly felt as far away as Nevada. Every single building in Port Chicago was damaged from the explosion. Continue reading “1944 Port Chicago Disaster & Mutiny”