Preserving The Homefront: Marinship, California's Black War Labor And Historic World War Site
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Type of WorkText
DepartmentHistory and Geography
ProgramMaster of Arts
RightsThis item is made available by Morgan State University for personal, educational, and research purposes in accordance with Title 17 of the U.S. Copyright Law. Other uses may require permission from the copyright owner.
This thesis will examine the relationship between the African American Labor Movement of the 1940s, headed by A. Philip Randolph, and the Marinship Emergency Shipyard in the fight for racial equality between wartime industries African American workers and their White counterparts which ended in the California Supreme Court case James v Marinship. Between 1942 and 1945, Marinship became known as the nation's most advanced and efficient shipyard. This former shipyard in Sausalito, California, was one of six Emergency Shipyards built in response to the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. African Americans, as well as other minorities, left their homes in the Midwest and South to pursue new careers at Marinship. African American workers made up ten percent of Marinship's employment. In 1943, the A-41 auxiliary of the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Shipbuilders and Helpers of America Union was created exclusively for African Americans employed at Marinship. The auxiliary union restricted African Americans laborers from reaping the same benefits as their White counterparts. During the 1940s many movements transpired in the United States, for equal employment opportunities. The law case, James v. Marinship, is an example of a single event that showcased the ongoing struggle for equality, particularly in the work place for African Americans. Many people in the Sausalito area hoped that Marinship would remain open after the war. Instead, all the Bay Area Emergency Shipyards were also closed after the war. Marinship was decommissioned in 1946 and formally transferred to the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1949. The General Services Administration gave 67.56 acres of the former yard to the Army Corps. The Army Corps then subdivided the yard and sold off large chunks to local industries and retained 11.4 acres at the core of the yard. The property known as Marinship has become a home to many commercial buildings. In the summer of 2013, the National Park Service Cultural Resource Diversity Internship Program (CRDIP) listed the California State Office of Historic Preservation as a site for their ten-week summer program. The property was discovered by an employee at the California State Office of Historic Preservation who after further research deemed the Marinship shipyard as eligible as a historic district property. After applying and interviewing for the CRDIP, I was selected as the research assistant to conduct the social history research, evaluate the integrity of the existing Marinship shipyard buildings and document those findings. I developed a historic context statement, evaluated the National and California Register eligibility, and prepared the appropriate forms for the Marinship Historic District in Sausalito, California. At the conclusion of the ten week summer program, I prepared the California Register of Historical Resources District Nomination form for the Marinship emergency shipyard. Included in the nomination form are ten extant buildings at the former shipyard. The following buildings contributed to the Marinship district and includes sufficient historical integrity; Building 10, Building 11, Building 12, Building 13, Building 15, Building 23, Building 29 and Building 30 which are all eligible under Criteria one. Criteria one eligibility includes a property's association with events that made a significant contribution to the local or regional history or cultural heritage of California or the United States. The property is also eligible for nomination under Criteria two due to its association with the James v. Marinship California Supreme Court case. Criteria two eligibility includes the property's association with the lives of persons who are important to local, California or national history. Within these two criteria the preservation office concluded that the focus of the Marinship shipyard would be its significance to California state history.