Speaker Bio: Dr. Regina T. Akers is a member of the Public History and Education Section in the Histories Branch at Naval History and Heritage Command, where she has served as an archivist and historian since 1987. She received her MA and PhD in history from Howard University. She enjoys a national reputation as a subject matter expert on diversity and personnel issues in the United States military with an emphasis on women and African Americans in the Navy. Her prestigious assignments include working on the African American Civil War Sailors Project, along with the serving on the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Task Force and the advisory committee supporting a Congressional effort to establish a women’s history museum on the National Mall. She is the author of numerous articles, book chapters, encyclopedic entries, book reviews, and blogs, including, The Navy’s First Enlisted Women: Patriotic Pioneers (Naval History and Heritage Command, 2019).
Description: Doris Miller was one of the first U.S. heroes of the Second World War. During the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, he helped to evacuate his commanding officer to a safer position and manned a machine gun to defend his against Japanese planes. He was eventually awarded the Navy Cross for his actions, becoming the first Black American to receive this award. In this presentation, NHHC historian Dr. Regina T. Akers will discuss Doris Miller's life, his family, and efforts to upgrade his Navy Cross to the Medal of Honor, along with Miller's immediate and long-term impact on the U.S. Navy and the World War II Civil Rights Movement.