0

1944 Port Chicago explosion: ‘We didn’t know what to think’

bg port chicago 1944j

The 70th anniversary of the Port Chicago explosion on July 17, 1944 that killed 320 men and critically injured hundreds more will be commemorated by events looking back on the World War II home front disaster from a modern day perspective, most notably the 50 African American men charged with mutiny for refusing to return to work in the unsafe conditions at at the segregated Naval facility.
The explosion was heard and felt in every county of the Bay Area and given the wartime conditions, “We didn’t know what to think,” said one of the women employed at the Kaiser shipyards in Richmond at the time. The first thought for many was that the enemy had attacked or there was some sort of sabotage, she added.
Port Chicago today is a national memorial site commemorating those who died and those who stood up for their rights.
Presented here is some of the coverage of the explosion as it appeared in the first two days after, 70 years ago in the Berkeley Daily Gazette.

bg port chicago 1944l

bg port chicago 1944h

bg port chicago 1944k

bg port chicago 1944g

bg port chicago 1944i

bg port chicago 1944f

bg port chicago 1944e

bg port chicago 1944d

bg port chicago 1944c

bg port chicago 1944b

Chris Treadway