New Grant Supports College of Charleston's SC LGBTQ Initiative

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The award supports the College's efforts to embark on the next phase of SC LGBTQ centered around outreach and access.

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To mark this year’s Pride Month, the SC LGBTQ Oral Histories, Archives, & Outreach project (SC LGBTQ) is pleased to announce receipt of a grant that expands its ability to collect and steward archival materials in non-traditional, community-centered ways.

The $24,000 grant will support:

  • An undergraduate research fellowship responsible for creating new avenues for students, faculty and scholars to utilize collection materials in coursework and scholarship. 
  • The formation of an SC LGBTQ advisory board with members drawn from across the College of Charleston campus, local non-profit organizations and community advocates. 
  • Invite community archiving and LGBTQ history scholars to campus to guest lecture during a new First Year Experience Learning Community, “Queer America: Archives and History of the LGBTQ+ Community.”
  • A public event discussing the challenges and opportunities of archival projects seeking to save and share the stories of marginalized groups.  

The one-year grant, part of the Community-Centered Archives Practice: Transforming Education, Archives, and Community History initiative, is led by the University of California, Irvine Libraries and funded by The Mellon Foundation. SC LGBTQ will collaborate with campus partners including the Women’s and Gender Studies Program, the Gender & Sexual Equity Center (also known as the Pride Center) and the LGBTQ Alumni Affinity Group.

“The first phase of SC LGBTQ revolved around building an impressive collection of materials documenting the experiences of LGBTQ+ and gender expansive individuals and organizations in our region,” says Mary Jo Fairchild, research and instruction coordinator at the College of Charleston Libraries’ Special Collections. “This grant award supports our efforts to embark on the next phase of SC LGBTQ centered around outreach and access. Special Collections is one of only a handful of institutions nation-wide chosen to join this elite cohort of academic libraries working to build meaningful partnerships in their communities.”

Housed in Special Collections at the Marlene & Nathan Addlestone Library, SC LGBTQ began in 2016 with support from the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation and seeks to shed light on the region’s understudied LGBTQ population by collecting archival materials and recording oral histories. The project team wants to hear from members of the LGBTQ+ community, whether they are new transplants or longtime residents.

“The role of our library is to document the history and culture of our city, region and state,” says John White ’99 (M.A.), dean of the College’s libraries. “It’s impossible to do that if you leave certain groups out.”

Today, the project has more than 55 recorded interviews and 17 collections available to the campus community and the public.

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