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LGBTQ Columbia History Initiative seeks to preserve, tell stories of city's LGBTQIA+ community

Partnership of Historic Columbia, South Caroliniana Library and University of SC's Dept. of Oral History collecting and preserving voices from the community
Credit: The State Newspaper Photograph Archive, Richland Library
Miss Gay Columbia contest at McBee's nightclub on Huger Street, July 1982.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — An interactive project by Historic Columbia, South Caroliniana Library and the University of South Carolina's Department of Oral History is collecting and archiving stories from Columbia's LGBTQIA+ community in an effort to map the gay history of the capitol city.

The LGBTQ Columbia History Initiative consists of three distinct sections, each accessible from Historic Columbia's website.

“We are so honored to able to use this platform to share stories that have previously not been brought to the fore,” said Robin Waites, Historic Columbia’s Executive Director. “This community has made significant contributions to the city at large and we hope that our project will illuminate that important past.”

The project began in 2019 when Historic Columbia partnered with the Harriet Hancock LGBT Center and the Queer Cola Oral History & Digital Archive Project to compile the "often unseen and untold stories of LGBTQIA+ life in the Midlands."

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