Queer Mississippi: Oral History Performance Explores LGBTQ History

Students in Dr. Jessie Wilkerson’s Southern Studies 506 Graduate Seminar in Southern LGBTQ History and Oral History Methods will present an oral history performance Wednesday, April 25 at 7pm at Burns-Belfry Museum and Multicultural Center. The event is free and open to the public, and a reception will follow the performance.

Dr. Wilkerson’s description of the event follows:

The Wednesday presentation is the culmination of reading, writing, listening, re-listening, telling, and re-telling queer history and memory in Oxford and at the University of Mississippi. The students in Southern Studies 506 practiced the method of oral history interviewing. They conducted original research and recorded a first-person account with a narrator, with the “conscious intent of creating a permanent record to contribute to an understanding of the past.”  Each of their interviews and accompanying documents will be preserved at the Department of Archives and Special Collections at the J. D. Williams Library, University of Mississippi. This project is an opening, a place to launch what we hope will become a longer project.

Upon completing interviews, students listened to one another’s recordings and, after hours of discussion, created a multi-vocal, multi-layered history. We present you that collaborative project—a dialogic recreation of the stories—in the following performance. Our intent is to encourage reflection on and participation in an emergent historical discourse. We invite you to join us in interpreting these stories and to think historically about them.