July 17, 1944
7.065 in HIGH x 8.5 in WIDE x 7.25 in DEEP
(17.95 cm HIGH x 21.59 cm WIDE x 18.41 cm DEEP)
Gift of KGO TV

This piece of metal is shrapnel from the explosion at Port Chicago. All of the edges are rough. The concave side of the metal is dark gray. The exterior, convex side is painted black. The outer side (the black side) is more pitted than the under side.

On July 17, 1944, two ships, being loaded with explosives/munitions exploded at Port Chicago on Suisun Bay in Contra Costa County. The ships were the SS E.A. Bryan, a Liberty ship, and the SS Quinalt Victory. Most of the 320 sailors and civilians killed were African American enlisted men. 390 people (military personnel and civilians) were injured. History indicates that the white sailors in charge of supervising the loading of the ships, and the African American sailors doing the handling of the explosives were handled differently (concerning their return to duties) after the explosion. As a result, there was a woork stopage. Many of the sailors did return to work, but 50 African American sailors were tried on charges of mutiny, found guilty and served time. Freddie Meeks, one of those men, petioned for a pardon and was granted one by President William J. Clinton in 1999. The convictions of others still are on the books, but efforts are being made to have all pardoned, even though most of them are now deceased.This heavy piece of metal, at least a half inch thick, flew onto the home of a woman living nearby.KGO-TV did a television program on the Port Chicago blast and its aftermath. That has been included as part of this gift.

Used: Port Chicago

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