Queer Mississippi Oral History Project

The Queer Mississippi Oral History Project consists of interviews with lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, and/or queer people in North Mississippi. The project began in the spring semester of 2018 in Dr. Jessica Wilkerson’s Seminar, “Oral History of Southern Social Movements,” Southern Studies 560. Graduate and undergraduate students in that class conducted interviews with people in Oxford and on the campus of the University of Mississippi, focusing largely on recent changes in the social climate for LGBTQ people and LGBTQ activism in and around Oxford.

The project then expanded when Wilkerson and Dr. Amy McDowell (sociology) applied for and received an Isom Fellowship for the summer of 2019. They worked with graduate students Hooper Schultz and Maddie Shappley to add interviews with people connected to queer communities in Tupelo, Mississippi. Simultaneously, McDowell donated the record collection of DJ Charles “Prince” Smith, who had worked at several gay bars in and around Tupelo. Students in Wilkerson’s fall 2019 oral history seminar again collected interviews for the Queer Mississippi project, further adding to the collection.

To date, the interviews reflect the experiences mostly of queer white Mississippians—young and old, from the state and transplants, working-class and middle-class. The next phase of the project, which was supposed to begin in spring of 2020 but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will focus on queer people of color in Mississippi.

This project is also affiliated with the Invisible Histories Project-Mississippi to document and preserve LGBTQ history in Mississippi.

Photo from Tupelo Pride 2018 by Ellie Campbell

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2019

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Invisible Histories Project comes to Mississippi, Joan Allison

Brinlee, Josh, Josh Brinlee and Christina Alison Huff

Bristow, Moe Kirk, Moe Kirk Bristow and David Hooper Schultz

Brock, Greg, Greg Brock and William Timothy Stribling

Burchfield, Hays, Hays Burchfield and David Hooper Schultz

Campbell, Larrison, Larrison Campbell and William Timothy Stribling

Cogar, Jessica, Jessica Cogar and Christina Alison Huff

Conwill, Lena, Lena Conwill and Maddie Shappley

Criss, Leslie, Leslie Criss and David Hooper Schultz

Dottley, Jason, Jason Dottley and Kevin Cozart

Fowlkes, Jen, Jen Fowlkes and Maddie Shappley

Fowlkes, Laura Leigh, Laura Leigh Fowlkes and Maddie Shappley

Gladish, Rick, Rick Gladish and David Hooper Schultz

Grimes, Jeffrey, Jeffrey Grimes and Carlynn L. Crosby

Grisham, Sketer, Sketer Grisham and Cecelia L. Parks

Swerve South Podcast: An introduction to the Invisible Histories Project, Jaime Harker, Amy McDowell, and Jessica Wilkerson

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Isom Fellowship Proposal: Queer Life Histories in Mississippi, Amy McDowell and Jessica Wilkerson

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Pamphlet proofs: Invisible Histories Mississippi, Amy McDowell and Jessica Wilkerson

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Tupelo Pride 2019 Exhibit, Amy McDowell, Jessica Wilkerson, Maddie Shappley, and David Hooper Schultz

Miller, Pat, Pat Miller and Cecelia L. Parks

Newsom, Julia "Star", Julia "Star" Newsom and David Hooper Schultz

Newton, P. J., P. J. Newton and David Hooper Schultz

Sproles, Cheryl, Cheryl Sproles and David Hooper Schultz

Sullivan, Betty, Betty Sullivan and Kevin Cozart

Vanhorn, Rufus, Rufus Vanhorn and Maddie Shappley

Walden, Cecil Price, Cecil Price Walden and Carlynn L. Crosby

White, Eric "Godiva", Eric "Godiva" White and Maddie Shappley

Whitlock, Joshua, Joshua Whitlock and Maddie Shappley

Wotring, Linn, Linn Wotring and David Hooper Schultz

2018

Tupelo Pride (documentary), Ellie Campbell

Cantrell, Jaime, Jaime Cantrell and Kaimara Herron

Cozart, Kevin (part 1 of 2), Kevin Cozart and David Hooper Schultz

Cozart, Kevin (part 2 of 2), Kevin Cozart and David Hooper Schultz

Gordon, Pip, Pip Gordon and Ellie Campbell

Grimes, Dixie, Dixie Grimes and Mary Knight

Harker, Jaime (part 1 of 2), Jaime Harker and Frankie Barrett

Harker, Jaime (part 2 of 2), Jaime Harker and Frankie Barrett

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Speech delivered at Tupelo Pride 2018, J. M. Benson Hill

Pridgeon, Malik, Malik Pridgeon and Alice Aitken

Stratton, Gail, Gail Stratton and Sarah Heying

Whisenant, Brian, Brian Whisenant and Jonathan Smith

Queer Mississippi Oral History Project Performance, Jessica Wilkerson

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Syllabus for S ST 560 Introduction to Oral History, Documenting LGBTQ Histories in Mississippi, Jessica Wilkerson

2008

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Program for the memorial service for Charles Lyndon Smith; Obituary, Friends of Charles Smith