New project looks to document LGBTQ history in the South

Directories of gay-friendly businesses dating back to the 1960s; activist T-shirts; records from gay-rights groups; rainbow-themed material – these are just a few items that the Birmingham-based Invisible Histories Project has collected, the Associated Press reports.

The project began in late 2016 to document the history of LGBTQ people living the Deep South, the story said. Bob Burns, a 66-year-old gay man, is one example of an activist who compiled a “trove” of information from the AIDS epidemic and other historical, AP reports, and has now donated his collection to the nonprofit.

Items already in the collection include documents “about a conflict over plans to hold the Southeastern Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual College Conference at the University of Alabama in 1996,” the story said. AP wrote that current U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was Alabama’s attorney general at the time and “unsuccessfully argued that holding the event at a public university conflicted with a state law then in effect, prohibiting homosexual acts,” but the meeting went along as planned.

In Florida, the Stonewall National Museum and Archives in Fort Lauderdale has thousands of books and artifacts documenting LGBTQ history across the nation, the story said. The project is expanding into Mississippi and Georgia later this year, and organizers hope to spread throughout the Southeast within a few years, the story said.

CD Davidson-Hiers
CD Davidson-Hiers is a 2017 summa cum laude graduate of Florida State University with a degree in Creative Writing and French. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Golden Key honors societies, and has received multiple writing awards for fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Prior to joining the Florida Phoenix, CD worked at the Tallahassee Democrat and has bylines in Tallahassee Magazine. She is a native of Pensacola and currently lives in Tallahassee with her tabby cat, Faulkner.


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