The Museum is proud to collaborate on this special program with The Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital, and the History and Heritage Command Historian and Archives Division, Washington, DC. The program is part of the Hill Center’s series of talks that examines the American Civil War within the context of the African American experience and is named in honor the Old Naval Hospital’s first registered patient, Benjamin Drummond. Drummond was an African American Sailor who was taken prisoner by Confederated ships.

Join historians, Regina Akers and Eddie Valentin as they participate in a moderated discussion about the ramifications of race and equity as it relates to the African American experience-- particularly from the end of the Civil War up to contemporary times.

About the Speakers:

Regina Akers is a historian at the Histories Branch of the Naval History and Heritage Command in Washington, DC. In this capacity, she has conducted more than 100 career, special topic, and end-of-tour interviews with significant senior leaders such as Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy, Mike Stevens to build institutional knowledge in the Navy and create oral history sources for historians. Previously, she served as an archivist at the Operational Archives Branch of the Naval History and Heritage Command, Washington, DC.

In 2006, Dr. Akers served as a member of the Oral History Team that interviewed fifteen women to commemorate the 30th anniversary of women integrating the U.S. Naval Academy. From 2008-2011, Dr. Akers researched, wrote and produced brochures on women, Native Americans and religious diversity for the Navy Diversity and Inclusion Office. In 2010 she was part of the inter-military service historical team assigned to the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Task Force. Dr. Akers’ profile of Vice Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Michelle J. Howard, USN is in African American National Biography, 2nd Edition, edited by Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham (Oxford University Press); and her entry on the WAVES appeared in The Oxford Companion to American Military History (1999). She has also published a number of articles on racism in African American and military history. Dr. Akers earned her BA at The Catholic University of America and her MA and PhD in U.S. history and public history at Howard University.

Eddie 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, Edward began working at the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum in Houston, Texas as an assistant curator. Since July 2020, Edward has worked as a curator at the National Museum of the United States Navy. His research focuses on race and identity in the U.S. military, and his work appears in Civil War History. He is currently working on his book manuscript, Black Men in Army Blue: Race, Citizenship, and Military Occupation, 1866-1900, under contract with the University of Virginia Press.

Note: This program will be held at the Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital, and represents the museum's commitment to offering free public programs within the diverse communities it serves. The address for the Hill Center is 921 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, Washington, DC, 20003.

Register for this event on the Hill Center website at

Left: Benjamin Drummond, image courtesy The Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital; right: Doris “Dorie” Miller, official Navy photograph

Left: Benjamin Drummond, image courtesy The Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital; right: Doris “Dorie” Miller, official Navy photograph