Port Chicago

The Port Chicago Oral History Collection rounds out the oral histories about Port Chicago that are already in the Oral History Center’s collection. This new collection of nine oral histories are told from the perspective of the survivors themselves. The Center’s existing collection talks about Port Chicago from a variety of voices, such as sailors on base, teenagers in town, and congressmen working to memorialize Port Chicago as a national park. These new oral histories were conducted by Robert Allen, activist, writer, and retired professor of African-American Studies and Ethnic Studies at the UC Berkeley. First published in 1993 and subsequently in 2006, Dr. Allen's book, The Port Chicago Mutiny: The Story of the Largest Mass Mutiny Trial in the US. Naval History, is the leading scholarly source on the events at Port Chicago. During the course of his research, Allen was able to interview many of the surviving sailors; all of his narrators are now deceased. These interviews are the some of the only surviving first-person accounts of the events. Preserving such important primary sources is critical in preserving the history of these events.

Oral Histories synced to audio

Martin Bordenave

Jack Crittenden

Freddie Meeks

Percy Robinson

Robert Routh

Cyril Sheppard

Joe Small Interview 1

Joe Small Interview 2

Joe Small Interview 4

Edward Waldrop


Special thanks to the National Park Service for funding the preservation, digitization, and access to these oral history interviews, as well as to Dr. Allen's Port Chicago and Civil Rights collections in partnership with The Bancroft Library. 

See all interviews

Project resources

Robert Allen Port Chicago Papers

Robert L. Allen Bancroft Library Papers

OHC Rosie the Riveter World War II Home Front Oral Histories relating to Port Chicago