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Dr. Edward Valentin

Dr. Edward Valentin giving his presentation.

Dr. Edward Valentin giving his presentation.  

Click on image to view the presentation.  

As many scholars have noted, emancipation was a long and complicated process that varied across time and space during the Civil War. Although many are aware of the centrality of the army and Black troops to the story of emancipation on land, the public are less familiar with Black people’s experiences with the navy and how the process of emancipation unfolded on water. From forced migration and labor aboard river boats and other vessels to fishing and swimming for recreation, waterways were an important part of Black life in the South. The deep knowledge that Black Southerners gained from their connections to water greatly aided them in escaping from slavery before and during the war, and in many cases, formerly enslaved people’s understanding of Southern waterways proved to be a valuable asset for the U.S. Navy. Many ultimately enlisted in the Navy, directly contributing to the Union war effort and the destruction of slavery. Throughout the Civil War, the courage, expertise, and commitment of Black Americans paved the way for the United States to begin addressing long-standing questions about race, slavery, citizenship, and civil rights.

Join historian, Edward Valentin as he examines the stories of African Americans who served the nation’s Navy during one of the most consequential American wars of the 19th century.

About the Speaker: Edward Valentin Jr. received his Bachelor of Science in history from the United States Military Academy in 2010 and his doctorate in history from Rice University in May 2020. In 2016, Dr. Valentin began working at the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum in Houston, Texas as an assistant curator. Since July 2020, he has worked as a curator at the National Museum of the United States Navy. His research area focuses on race and identity in the U.S. military, and his work has appeared in the scholarly journal, Civil War History. He is working on a book manuscript, Black Men in Army Blue: Race, Citizenship, and Military Occupation, 1866-1900, currently under a publishing contract with the University of Virginia Press.

Published: Fri Apr 21 07:22:09 EDT 2023