Peer Review by Mia Lamont (Australia)

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The Port Chicago 50: An Argumentative Essay on the Posthumous Pardoning of the Navy's Civil Rights Heroes

By: Harlow


    It was 10:18 p.m. at the Port Chicago California Naval Magazine, and the men had finished loading thousands of tons of ammunition onto the Quinalt Victory and E.A. Bryan for the day. Left on the docks were another few hundred tons of explosives in railcars. These bombs were armed, "hot cargo" as the sailors called it. The men in their barracks were preparing for or already in bed. Another group of men was still loading the two ships. Moments later, the cracking of crushed wood and the ringing of an explosion rung out across the pier. A few more moments later, scalding hunks of metal were sent into the sky with white-hot flashes of the exploding cargo. That day, July 17, 1944, 320 men were killed in addition to another 390 wounded. This catastrophe, however, was just the beginning of the story for 50 African-American men who took a stand against the injustices that occurred after the explosion. This is the story of the Port Chicago Mutiny.

Message to Readers

In schools across the nation, the hot topics of the Civil Rights Movement are highlighted. We all know Dr. King, Rosa Parks, and the Emmett Till. We've all heard of The March on Washington, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and Bloody Sunday. This, dear reader, is the story of lesser-known heroes in the Civil Rights Movement. Their actions forged the path for generations to follow. This is a thank you and an argument to help them.

Peer Review

I liked the way it started. It was very descriptive in terms as what happened before hand, making it easy to visualise it.

I actually don't know anything about the Port Chicago Mutiny so I'd really like to learn more about it. It sounds really interesting and I think your writing captures that well.

Reviewer Comments

I hope you write more!!