Eng-W270 Spring 2019; Travis Rountree; Beth South; and Abbie Sliger

While there have been various attempts to establish an LGBTQ community in Richmond, IN including pride marches, LGBTQ organizations, and Facebook groups, there has never been a sustainable, visible presence of queer life in Richmond. This archive makes an effort to have this community more visible on and off campus. This book contains the Richmond, IN/Wayne County LGBTQ+ Collection for the IU East Campus Archives. This collection was started in collaboration with English faculty Dr. Travis A. Rountree; the students from his ENG-W270 argumentative writing course; his TA, Abbie Sliger; and Beth South, campus archivist, in the spring semester of 2019. The premise of the W 270 course was to address rhetorical constructions of LGBTQ identities in the Richmond, IN area. Students from the class found an artifact or interviewed someone from the local LGBTQ community which was then  placed in the IU East Archives. Students wrote and recorded their own reflections on the historical, cultural, or social importance of their artifacts or interviews and developed themes that they uncovered and wanted to further explore into a final research paper.  This collection is a mix of student research as well as local LGBTQ community content. There are primary source materials presented in this collection along with the individual perspectives of the students themselves.

In addition to this archive, an LGBTQ film series accompanied the course and consisted of Southern Comfort and Love, Simon. These films document the struggle of queer lives in rural American communities. Through the films, students were able to draw comparison to Richmond, a small Midwestern city and the rural communities surrounding it. Students also attended a reading by award winning poet, Stephen Mills who grew up in the area.  Mills, a gay man who was born and raised in the area, provides students another glimpse into the struggles of growing up in a small, rural community and what happens when these members leave the area. His reading to the class and in public is documented in the archive. Lastly, this archive is revealed to the campus and larger community at an LGBTQ community panel. The point being to showcase the archive, but also to recognize that there is a strong history of LGBTQ presence in Richmond.

We would like for this archive to grow organically and become sustainable in the Richmond area with not only university and college contributions, but with those from the larger community as a whole. By continuing this archive, students and community members will empower this marginalized community through storytelling.


 What this collection includes:

  • Photographs
  • News articles
  • Oral narratives or interviews from the local LGBTQ and ally community members
  • Student analysis of their research and contribution to the collection

NOTE: All audio interviews and video recordings can also be found at IU’s Media Collections Online.




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Introduction by Eng-W270 Spring 2019; Travis Rountree; Beth South; and Abbie Sliger is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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