About this item

An astonishing civil rights story from Newbery Honor winner and National Book Award finalist Steve Sheinkin.
On July 17, 1944, a massive explosion rocked the segregated Navy base at Port Chicago, California, killing more than 300 sailors who were at the docks, critically injuring off-duty men in their bunks, and shattering windows up to a mile away. On August 9th, 244 men refused to go back to work until unsafe and unfair conditions at the docks were addressed. When the dust settled, fifty were charged with mutiny, facing decades in jail and even execution.
This is a fascinating story of the prejudice that faced black men and women in America's armed forces during World War II, and a nuanced look at those who gave their lives in service of a country where they lacked the most basic rights.

This thoroughly-researched and documented book can be worked into multiple aspects of the common core curriculum.



About the Author

Steve Sheinkin

From: I was born in Brooklyn, NY, and my family lived in Mississippi and Colorado before moving back to New York and settling in the suburbs north of New York City. As a kid my favorite books were action stories and outdoor adventures: sea stories, searches for buried treasure, sharks eating people ... that kind of thing. Probably my all-time favorite was a book called Mutiny on the Bounty, a novel based on the true story of a famous mutiny aboard a British ship in the late 1700s. I went to Syracuse University and studied communications and international relations. The highlight of those years was a summer I spent in Central America, where I worked on a documentary on the streets of Nicaragua. After college I moved to Washington, D.C., and worked for an environmental group called the National Audubon Society. Then, when my brother Ari graduated from college a few years later, we decided to move to Austin, Texas, and make movies together. We lived like paupers in a house with a hole in the floor where bugs crawled in. We wrote some screenplays, and in 1995 made our own feature film, a comedy called A More Perfect Union (filing pictured below) , about four young guys who decide to secede from the Union and declare their rented house to be an independent nation. We were sure it was going to be a huge hit; actually we ended up deep in debt. After that I moved to Brooklyn and decided to find some way to make a living as a writer. I wrote short stories, screenplays, and worked on a comic called The Adventures of Rabbi Harvey. In 2006, after literally hundreds of rejections, my first Rabbi Harvey graphic novel was finally published. Meanwhile, I started working for an educational publishing company, just for the money. We'd hire people to write history textbooks, and they'd send in their writing, and it was my job to check facts and make little edits to clarify the text. Once in a while I was given the chance to write little pieces of textbooks, like one-page biographies or skills lessons. "Understanding Bar Graphs" was one of my early works. The editors noticed that my writing was pretty good. They started giving me less editing to do, and more writing. Gradually, I began writing chapters for textbooks, and that turned into my full-time job. All the while, I kept working on my own writing projects.In 2008 I wrote my last textbook. I walked away, and shall never return. My first non-textbook history book was King George: What Was His Problem? - full of all the stories about the American Revolution that I was never allowed to put into textbooks. But looking back, I actually feel pretty lucky to have spent all those years writing textbooks. It forced me to write every day, which is great practice. And I collected hundreds of stories that I can't wait to tell.These days, I live with my wife, Rachel, and our two young kids in Saratoga Springs, New York. We're right down the road from the Saratoga National Historical Pa



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