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Trump's Transgender Ban Fell Near The Anniversary Of The Horrific Incident That Persuaded Truman To Desegregate The Armed Forces

Trump's Transgender Ban Fell Near The Anniversary Of The Horrific Incident That Persuaded Truman To Desegregate The Armed Forces
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Much has been made of the fact that President Donald Trump’s abrupt decision announced via Twitter Inc (NYSE: TWTR) Wednesday to ban transgender people from the U.S. military fell on the 69th anniversary of the day that President Harry Truman desegregated those very same armed forces.

What has received little attention is the horrific incident that also marked an anniversary this month: the tragedy that prompted Truman to make his historic decision.

On July 17, 1944, units of mainly African-American enlisted men were loading live bombs onto ships at Port Chicago, California, while war still raged in the Pacific. They worked around the clock and had received little training.

Safety standards were abandoned in the rush to arm two ships at once. The holds of the ships were packed with 4,600 tons of depth charges, bombs and ammunition.

Suddenly, a series of massive explosions rocked the ammo dump, killing 332, two-thirds of whom were black soldiers assigned the dangerous duty. The blasts could be heard as far as Nevada.

The Mutiny That Followed

Survivors, who had seen the horrors and helped put out the fires, were reassigned to another depot and were again told to load more munitions. Still, without munitions training, 258 African-American sailors refused.

Military authorities sentenced 208 men to disorderly conduct discharges and pay forfeiture. The other 50 were court martialed and sentenced from eight to 15 years of hard labor, though they were all granted clemency two years later.

The worst homeland loss of life of the war prompted Truman to finally overcome staunch resistance and desegregate the military. A commission determined in 1994 that racism played a factor in the disaster.

President Bill Clinton pardoned one of the surviving sailors who had been sentenced to prison. President Barack Obama’s Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, supported a blanket pardon for the Port Chicago 50, but it never came to pass.

Maybe it never will.

Related Link: Six Months In, Trump Has Only Appointed 27 Ambassadors, Mostly Cronies


Image Credit: Donald Trump's Twitter

Posted-In: Barack Obama Bill Clinton Donald Trump Harry TrumanEducation Politics Psychology General Best of Benzinga


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