Description: Mass mobilization to support the American war effort during the Second World War drastically transformed American society. African Americans frequently found themselves at the center of many of these transformations, including in the Navy. In this presentation, NHHC historian Dr. Akers
will analyze the people, organizations, motivations, and circumstances that ultimately shaped the development of World War II naval policies for African Americans. She will discuss the experiences and challenges African American naval veterans faced in the post-war era. Finally, Dr. Akers will offer insight into how Navy leaders and Sailors can apply lessons learned from World War II to the obstacles the fleet faces today.
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).