Oral Histories

At the founding of the Southwest Virginia LGBTQ+ History Project in September 2015 we decided to focus on two core initiatives: Archives and Oral Histories. Recognizing that most LGBTQ history, especially here in Southwest Virginia, is not preserved within written documents, we decided that recording oral histories with a diverse cross-section of community members is an important methodology for saving our history before it is lost forever.

As of July 2017, we have recorded and transcribed over 25 hour-long oral histories with community members.

First, check out our Subject Index, a comprehensive guide to the oral history collection!

Then, you can view and listen to the Entire Collection here!

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Phase One (Spring 2016)

Our first round of oral histories was completed in May 2016. All audio recordings and written transcripts are deposited in the LGBTQ History Collection, Virginia Room, Roanoke Public Library.

 

Phase One Narrators:

  • James Ernest Best, Jr.
  • Larry Bly
  • Whitney B. Conley
  • Daddy Sam
  • Ronald “Ron” Davidson
  • Gerry Jennings
  • Daniel Jones
  • Virginia Irene Lindsey
  • Kim O’Donnell
  • Rodger Saunders
  • Peter Thornhill
  • Trish Valentine
  • Edna Whittier
  • Rosemary Wyman

imag0275Phase Two (Fall 2016), Oral Herstory Initiative

Our second round of oral histories are actually oral herstories! We decided to interview queer and trans women about their experiences. These interviews were completed in December 2016. All audio recordings and written transcripts are deposited in the LGBTQ History Collection, Virginia Room, Roanoke Public Library.

Phase Two Narrators:

  • Mary M. Boenke
  • Erika Joyner
  • Barbara Maberry
  • Sally Seagraves
  • Peggy Shifflett

Phase Three (Spring 2017), QPOC (Queer People of Color) History Initiative

Our third round of oral histories focused on the experiences of queer and trans people of color, specifically LGBTQ African Americans. We also continued our oral herstories initiative, collecting the stories of queer white women. These interviews were completed in May 2017. All audio recordings and written transcripts are deposited in the LGBTQ History Collection, Virginia Room, Roanoke Public Library.

Phase Three Narrators:

  • Michelle Bennett
  • Linny Caldwell
  • Garland Gravely
  • Robin Jordan
  • Martha
  • Don Muse
  • Rissa

 

Here are some stats on the project (as of May 2017):

-over 500 pages of written transcripts

-26 interview subjects

-a 23-page subject index

-over 25 hours of audio recordings

-nearly 100 people have participated in the project as narrators, interviewers, and transcribers. Thank you to all!