By Emily Sprewell
From the University of West Georgia
The University of West Georgia will be hosting an event to launch the movement of the Invisible Histories Project into Georgia on March 5 from 6 to 8 p.m. in room 108.4 of UWG’s Campus Center Ballroom.
The Invisible Histories Project (IHP) is an organization that works to gather and preserve the history of the LGBTQ community in the South. The project began in Alabama and has since included Mississippi and Georgia.
“Queer history in the U.S. South has been understudied and unexamined,” explained Dr. Stephanie Chalifoux, assistant professor of history at UWG. “IHP has collections and is continuing to seek collections from individuals, businesses and organizations that contain items like letters, photographs, business records and journals. Some of these will be housed in Special Collections here at UWG’s Ingram Library.”
The project began with the University of Alabama and eventually spread to Mississippi through the University of Mississippi. UWG is the first university in Georgia to partner with IHP.
“As a member of the UWG community, I am so proud we are the first institution to join,” said Chalifoux. “I think it speaks volumes about our faculty expertise and the confidence we have in our students to work on this grant. The project is bigger than UWG, and we know that IHP will move beyond our campus.”
IHP’s efforts are funded by the Andrew Mellon grant, a very prestigious grant that comes from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This is the first time that UWG has received the Mellon grant.
“For UWG to be part of this project is truly impressive and illustrates the respect for our expertise in the field of history,” Chalifoux said.
The event will have a reception where attendees can receive information about IHP and hear a discussion regarding LGBTQ history in the South.
“The reception will allow people to meet and talk with us,” Chalifoux said. “We will also have a few speakers discuss the project. The founders of IHP from Birmingham, Josh Burford and Maigen Sullivan, will explain the project. We will also have an information booth staffed with people who can answer questions, help guests sign up to learn more and find out how they may assist our efforts.”
Sponsors for this event are the UWG history department, the College of Arts and Humanities, the Center for Public History, and Special Collections.
For more information about this project, please visit https://invisiblehistory.org/.