LGBTQ Columbia History Initiative
Historic Columbia is committed to telling the stories of all Columbians and linking today’s community at large with Columbia and Richland County’s diverse and complex past. In 2019, we partnered with the Queer Cola Oral History & Digital Archive Project and the Harriet Hancock LGBT Center to begin planning a comprehensive project documenting the often unseen and untold stories of LGBTQIA+ life in the Midlands. During this initial phase, we identified potential sites and stories with help from members of the community, hosted a table at SC Pride, began training volunteers to perform oral histories, and sought grant opportunities.
Now, with seed money from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, we are officially expanding our Connecting Communities through History (CCtH) platform to include the history of the LGBTQIA+ community. To do so, we plan to take the following steps in 2021:
As with our previous CCtH efforts, this endeavor will result in several products, including a stand-alone thematic tour whose content will also be interwoven into existing CCtH “neighborhood” tours. But of paramount importance is ensuring the preservation of the community’s memories, both collective and individual. To that end, we have partnered with two libraries at the University of South Carolina, the Office of Oral History and South Caroliniana Library, to achieve the following:
- Record and transcribe 30 oral histories, which will be preserved by the Office of Oral History and made accessible to the public through a UofSC-based website.
- Work with the Office of Oral History to create further access to oral histories recorded more than a decade ago.
- Fully process and make accessible the 70+ box “South Carolina gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer collection” held by South Caroliniana Library, and create a digital collection comprised of key documents and ephemera contained within. The resulting finding aid(s) and digital collection will also be made available through the aforementioned website.
To ensure the success of this endeavor we need your help. We ask that you consider making a contribution to ensure that LGBTQIA+ stories are no longer silenced, and instead will be uplifted and woven into the fabric of Columbia’s broader history.
Support Our Work
Your financial support will help Historic Columbia document and preserve the stories of the LGBTQ community.Donate Today
Support Out Work
There are many ways to volunteer your time for this project. Please get in touch to share your own story, a name of someone we should interview, photographs of LGBTQ places and people, or to be trained to collect oral histories from other LGBTQ community members.Get In Touch
Dr. Isabelle N. Mandell
Julie Smith Turner
Theresa Hurt Mary