Alabama group documenting LGBTQ history in the South gets grant

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FILE- In this June 24, 2018 file photo, revelers carry a LGBTQ flag along Fifth Avenue during the New York City Pride Parade in New York. New York City will host two parades on Sunday, June 30, 2019, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising. The smaller of the two, Queer Liberation March, starts at 9:30 a.m. and the larger Pride march steps off at noon. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki, File)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — A nonprofit organization that documents the history of LGBTQ people in the South has been awarded a $600,000 grant for work in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and the Florida Panhandle.

The Birmingham-based Invisible Histories Project, established in 2016, said it received the funding through The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The money will help the organization expand its collections, do more work in the community and increase access and diversity, the group said in a statement.

“There are so many LGBTQ histories that are sitting in closets, attics, basements and storage spaces all over the Deep South. Without the intervention of IHP they will remain there until they are lost or destroyed,” Josh Burford, a co-founder and the head archivist, said in a statement.

Drawing heavily on members of the LGBTQ community who saved items for years, the organization said it has gathered 75 collections in Alabama, 20 in Mississippi and five in Georgia. With progress slowed by the coronavirus pandemic, the group said it plans to expand into the Panhandle region late next year or in 2023.

The group is planning its next Queer History South conference, “Archives for All, Y’all,” in February in Dallas.

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