Dr. Maigen Sullivan's presentation of the "Invisible No More: Alabama's LGBTQ History" program last month at the Alabama Department of Archives and History (ADAH) was not the first time the state agency featured subject matter of this nature.

Perhaps it was a coincidence that the lecture took place a year earlier, also during Pride Month, but ADAH hosted Joshua Burford, an associate of Sullivan at the Invisible Histories Project (iHP), at its June 16, 2022 "Food For Thought" lunchtime lecture.

Burford, the iHP's director of outreach and lead archivist, mainly focused on the challenges of acquiring artifacts for his project's collection on LGBTQ history throughout the rural South during his nearly hour-long appearance at the Alabama Department of Archives & History event venue in Montgomery.

"If we could do this, how would we go about preserving this material?" Burford said. "The big idea was that somehow we were going to build a big gay museum and put everything in it. And that's certainly a thing, but I don't know if you have ever tried to manage a building, but like real-real, it's expensive and terrible."

"We thought the best way to do this work is to go into the towns and cities where this material exists and then find out how we can get said material into existing archival collections because the LGBT history of Alabama deserves to be here in Montgomery. It deserves to be in Birmingham because that is where our communities are. And so we wanted to make sure our histories stay as local as possible so it could affect the most people in the communities to which it created."

The 2022 event went largely unnoticed, but the 2023 follow-up event drew backlash from many, including lawmakers now targeting $5 million in ADAH funding allocated in the state education supplemental budget passed by the Alabama Legislature earlier this year.

State Sen. Chris Elliott (R-Josephine) has pledged to file legislation that would strip the funding during this week's special session on redistricting.

Jeff Poor is the editor in chief of 1819 News and host of "The Jeff Poor Show," heard Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-noon on Mobile's FM Talk 106.5. To connect or comment, email jeff.poor@1819News.com or follow him on Twitter @jeff_poor.

Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.