LGBTQ archives project receives funding from the engagement scholarship consortium

The LGBTQ Archives project began in 2022 as an investigation into the university and community archives to discover an important and relevant historical narrative from our community — Greenville, North Carolina — that is less known (or unknown), with particular attention to stories that uplift and recenter marginalized and/or intersectional groups that have been historically overlooked, dismissed, or ignored.  We identified several relevant and important topic directions, but ultimately moved forward with the final direction of LGBTQ Experiences in Eastern North Carolina – Greenville, Pitt County, and beyond.

The purpose of this project is to recognize and highlight stories and experiences of LGBTQ people in the community of Greenville, Pitt County, and Eastern North Carolina, from past to present. This includes sharing stories from the existing university and community archives that we’ve found as well as discovering and sharing additional stories we hope to find as part of this project’s continued development.  

This project is a community engagement project and we are working directly with community partner, Pitt County Arts Council (PCAC), a non-profit arts organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of life in Pitt County by promoting artists and arts organizations, educating through the arts, and making the arts accessible to the entire community.  We’ve been working with them on framing and developing the project and they have been vital in creating new connections with additional community partners. We continue to work with university partners at the library, specifically the Archivist specialist and Head of the North Carolina Collection in Special Collections at Joyner Library, ECU.  

We’re also working with university partners at the Dr. Jesse R. Peel LGBTQ Center at ECU to frame and develop the project, prepare project promotional materials, and develop our participation strategy for community engagement activities.  Their participation with the project is integral for moving forward and next steps.

Now, we begin the process of inviting the LGBTQ community to tell their stories about their experiences to further learn and expand on the histories and narratives of our community.  We will be inviting participation and collecting stories through this academic year, using an interview video format. These stories will become part of the existing university archives. These stories will also be shared and presented as an exhibition for and with the community.  The exhibition will aim to communicate and educate on LGBTQ history in Greenville, Pitt County, Eastern North Carolina by sharing these stories as a comprehensive collection of work. We plan to propose the exhibition as a permanent, public art installation for the community.

The have received funding support from ESC (Engagement Scholarship Consortium) scholarship committee. The ESC grant directly supports the project by providing funds for student research assistants on the project. This has been instrumental in the archival research as well as design development of the project. Students who received these funds include Lee Turner (AY 2022 – 2023) and LC Love (AY 2022 – 2023, AY 2023 – 2024).

The ESC grant also helped with project supplies for community engagement activities as we transition into community engagement phases for promotion, participation, and story gathering this academic year.

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