This essay explores intersections among urban history, queer history, and public history in a gentrifying southern city. I show how queer cultures flourished in Roanoke, Virginia, in the 1960s and 1970s only to be displaced by a combination of police repression, urban planning, and gentrification starting in the late 1970s and 1980s. Seeking to “Make Roanoke Queer Again,” the Southwest Virginia LGBTQ+ History Project is a community-based history initiative committed to researching and interpreting the region’s LGBTQ history. This essay argues that queer community history projects can be a form of resistance to gentrification and a means to preserve our history from “queer erasure.”
Make Roanoke Queer Again: Community History and Urban Change in a Southern City
Gregory Rosenthal is assistant professor of public history at Roanoke College where he teaches courses in history and public humanities. He has published in Environmental History, Rethinking History: The Journal of Theory and Practice, Resilience: A Journal of the Environmental Humanities, and World History Bulletin. He is cofounder and project leader of the Southwest Virginia LGBTQ+ History Project.
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Gregory Rosenthal; Make Roanoke Queer Again: Community History and Urban Change in a Southern City. The Public Historian 1 February 2017; 39 (1): 35–60. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/tph.2017.39.1.35
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