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Lighting the Fuse to Civil Rights: The Port Chicago Trial on Treasure Island
February 9 @ 1:00 pm - 4:30 pm
In honor of Black History Month, the Treasure Island Museum (TIM) will also honor the 75th Anniversary year of the Port Chicago disaster and trial. A special program will be presented about this story and a panel of experts will discuss how these historic events contributed to the birth of the Civil Rights movement as well as pivotal racial and equity issues still being discussed today. This free event is open to the general public and reservations are suggested.
Considered the worst U.S. domestic disaster of World War II, a massive explosion located near Concord, California killed 320 people, 202 of whom were black sailors ordered to load and unload explosives with no training and inadequate equipment. Publicity around the disaster and ensuing mutiny trial not only helped lead the way to desegregation of U.S armed forces but was also an early step for Thurgood Marshall who was chief counsel for the NAACP, toward becoming one of the most respected Supreme Court Justices in U.S. history.
Treasure Island’s history is largely recognized as the home of the 1939 World’s Fair. However, few people know that the Naval Station Treasure Island is where 50 black men were convicted of mutiny during the Port Chicago Trial for refusing to return to work in conditions that were unsafe.
- 1:00 pm The Port Chicago Story: Oak Dowling, JD, Instructor, Dominican
- 3:00 pm Panel Discussion: The trial, its consequences and its place in
Prof. Rhonda Magee, USF School of Law
Prof. James Taylor, USF Dept. of African American Studies
Kelli English, Chief of Interpretation, Port Chicago Naval Magazine
David Salniker, Board Member, Friends of Port Chicago National
Mary Wardell-Ghirarduzzi, Vice Provost for Diversity Engagement
and Community Outreach, USF will moderate this event.
This event is brought to you by: TIM in partnership with the Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Historic Site, the San Francisco Public Library, the Friends of Port Chicago and the University of San Francisco, with support from the Treasure Island Development Authority and the Historic Preservation Fund of the Office of Economic Workforce Development, City of San Francisco.