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.
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
Phase 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
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!
Phase Three (Spring 2017), QPOC (Queer People of Color) History Initiative
Our third round of oral histories will focus on the experiences of queer and trans people of color, particularly LGBTQ African Americans. Interviews will begin in February 2017.
Here are some stats on the project (as of December 2016):
-358 pages of written transcripts
-19 interview subjects
-a 17-page subject index
-over 20 hours of audio recordings
-nearly 70 people have participated in the project as narrators, interviewers, and transcribers. Thank you to all!