Library to host film / discussion on Port Chicago Incident

By Michelle Franzen

The Fairfield Civic Center Library will host a short film and discussion for African-American Heritage Month about the Port Chicago Disaster and Mutiny on Saturday, Feb. 13 from 11 a.m. to Noon. A ranger from the National Park Service will give the presentation on how the incident relates to modern America. The program is free and open to all.


On July 17, 1944, 320 sailors and civilians lost their lives and 390 more were injured when a ship loaded with munitions at the Port Chicago Naval Magazine in Suisun Bay exploded. Most of those killed or injured were African-Americans who worked there. Due to unsafe working conditions, 250 men refused to continue loading munitions after the explosion. 50, all African-American, were charged and convicted of mutiny.


“This incident is an important moment in civil rights history that happened in our area,” said Michelle Franzen, Library Associate. “The explosion highlighted not only poor safety regulations but also racism in the armed forces. The incident caused more African-Americans to organize to promote civil rights and was a catalyst in the desegregation of the Navy.”


The library is located at 1150 Kentucky St., Fairfield. For more information call 1-866-572-7587 or visit




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