55.1 F
46.2 F
48.4 F
42.2 F

Archives director: LGBTQ event was ‘legitimate historical inquiry’

The current director of Alabama Department of Archives and History (ADAH) is defending an LGBTQ+ event that took place there last month.

The “Invisible No More: Alabama’s LGBTQ+ History” event drew criticism from lawmakers who believe the event went beyond the role of the agency in teaching and preserving Alabama history.

ADAH Director Steve Murray discussed the issue Friday on Alabama Public Television’s “Capitol Journal.”

“It was a program that spoke to history that was actually dating back 50 years ago when some student organizations at Auburn University and the University of Alabama started organizing members of the LGBTQ community there and an early Birmingham-based organization that was providing social services,” Murray said. “So it was very much a traditional talk in the way of a speaker coming in who has done research on a topic and presenting that historical research in a way that is very consistent with our long-standing pattern that really approaches just about every topic under the sun in Alabama history.”

Murray said it was not a Pride Month celebration, but a real discussion of history.

“Looking at primary sources in history, what’s available about these efforts decades ago of people in Alabama,” he said. “These were people who lived here who were starting to create organizations within that community, and looking at the lives of some notable Alabamians who happen to be LGBTQ and some of their contributions to society.”

The director also said the event was not about any of the controversial political issues in the country.

“[W]e see that specifically within the realm of our historical work as one of the state’s historical agencies,” he said. “An opportunity to look broadly at the state’s history and to be sure we’re serving all of Alabama’s citizens, all of its taxpayers in a way that means that, you know, we cover a lot of territory in any given year.

“This one hour happened to be dedicated to this particular topic that we think is a legitimate historical inquiry. It wasn’t about contemporary political issues.”

State Sen. Chris Elliott is drafting a bill for the upcoming special session to cut some of the ADAH funding for updates to some of the agency’s museum galleries.

Yaffee is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts “The Yaffee Program” weekdays 9-11 a.m. on WVNN. You can follow him on Twitter @Yaffee

Don’t miss out!  Subscribe today to have Alabama’s leading headlines delivered to your inbox.