THE MARE ISLAND MUTINY

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aurora
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THE MARE ISLAND MUTINY

Post by aurora » Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:42 pm

U.S.A.:
Time Magazine, October 2, 1944:


*****MUTINY ON MARE ISLAND*****
"A case without precedent in U.S. Navy history is drawing to a close this week on Yerba Buena Island, San Francisco Bay. Fifty U.S. sailors, all of them Negroes, are being tried for mutiny, for which the punishment may be death. The 50 are ammunition handlers who, a few weeks after the explosion of two ammunition-laden ships at Port Chicago (327 killed) refused to load a ship.
On an afternoon in August the ship had arrived at the Naval ammunition depot on Mare Island to take on a cargo of explosives. A division of loaders (105 men) - all of whom had been at Port Chicago - were mustered for the job. They fell in, shuffled a few steps, stopped. All but eleven of them refused to work.
The commandant tried persuasion. He sent the chaplain to talk to them. The chaplain pleaded" "Come on, boys, I'll go with you." The Negroes still balked. The commandant and his executive talked to them individually but could persuade only 21 of them to obey orders and go to work.
Another division was mustered. It lined up but broke ranks before marching a step. A third division arrived in busses. All but eight of them refused to work. In all, 277 men, all of them Negroes, refused duty. Finally Rear Admiral Carleton H. Wright, commandant of the 12th Naval District, hurried to the depot and made a stern but fatherly speech. Even then 50 held out - the 50 on trial this week"
Quo Fata Vocant-Whither the Fates call

Jim

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aurora
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Re: THE MARE ISLAND MUTINY

Post by aurora » Tue Jan 22, 2013 5:27 pm

The charge of Mutiny for 50 African American sailors followed the largest mass mutiny trial in modern American Navy history. On August 9, 1944, 258 African American Navy sailors refused to return to loading munitions under the unsafe conditions that had killed 320 men, 202, of whom were their fellow African American sailors just 3 weeks before at Port Chicago Naval Magazine. While the group of sailors were barracked in Vallejo under the command of the Mare Island Naval Ammunition Depot, their somewhat impromptu refusal to return to work without assurances of training and improved safety precautions, resulted in the court martial of the 50 men singled out as having been key instigators of the action. Through advocacy of then NAACP lawyer and later Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall, and even Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, the Navy’s racial segregation practices came to the forefront, leading to a policy shift towards integration by the U.S. Navy and many have said, the founding of the modern American civil rights movement.
Quo Fata Vocant-Whither the Fates call

Jim

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