Invisible Histories is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Co-founders, Joshua Burford (Director of Outreach & Lead Archivist) and Maigen Sullivan (Director of Research & Development), began working on the concept in late 2015. 501(c)3 status was obtained in October 2016 and the project officially launched and began collecting in February 2018. Both Burford and Sullivan were working on the project full time by September 2018.

In the first year of operations, Invisible Histories located 18 new LGBTQ collections in Alabama; identified 3 repository archive partners; helped develop 3 undergraduate courses at 2 state universities; organized and held the inaugural Queer History South Conference of 115 archivists, historians, students, faculty & staff; mentored 4 undergraduate and graduate interns/scholars; and received an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant to expand their work into Mississippi and Georgia.

In addition to preserving the rich history of LGBTQ Southerners, the project’s goals are to:

  1. Create opportunities for intergenerational connection with Queer & Trans people in the South
  2. Create research opportunities for students, faculty, and community members in archives, research and preservation.
  3. Provide a network for LGBTQ historians and archivists through the South through the Queer History South network and conference.
  4. Work with universities, libraries, museums, and archives to create collection and preservation partnerships throughout the South.
  5. Establish a community based, centrally located space to display these histories and act as a space for community dialogue around Queer history.
A Newspaper Article from 1912

A Newspaper Article from 1912

One of many items in the IH collection that displays a long history of persecution.

Meet Our Staff

Joshua Burford is an award-winning historian, archivist, and educator with over 20 years of experience creating stronger communities for Queer and Transgender people across the U.S.
Joshua Burford
Co-Executive Director
Maigen Sullivan is the co-founder and Co-Executive Director of Invisible Histories, a nonprofit locating, researching, and creating educational content around LGBTQ history in the Deep South.
Maigen Sullivan, PhD
Co-Executive Director
Margaret Lawson

Board of Directors

Wayne Coleman, Head of Archives and Technology for the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute’s Archives Department, is responsible for overall management and direct supervision of the archive’s collections.
Wayne Coleman
Soapy Jones is the owner of Left Hand Soap Company, Pink Box Burlesque and Brass Tack Events. She has a background in archiving, psychology, history, philosophy, and business administration.
Soapy Jones
Julia Brock is a native of Rome, Georgia, and is an assistant professor of History at the University of Alabama. She practices, studies, and teaches public history with a special interest in museums, digital history, oral history, and community partnerships.
Julia Brock, PhD
Dr. Brittany Chandler Sanders is a Nurse Practitioner based out of Birmingham, Alabama and her medical specialization is Nurse Practitioner – Adult Health. She practices in Birmingham, Alabama.
Dr. Brittany Chandler Sanders
Bettina is an experienced health disparities and cultural competence consultant. She has worked with the defense industry, academic medical research, the automotive and manufacturing industries. Several years of her career were dedicated to higher education at an academic medical research university.
Bettina Byrd-Giles
Jeffrey Bibbee is from Florence, Alabama, and is currently serving as the Associate Dean for the UNA College of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering and as a professor of history.
Jeffrey Bibbee, PhD
Lolita Rowe is the Assistant University Archivist for Outreach & Engagement at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.
Lolita Rowe

Thank YoutoOur Funders

Mellon Foundation
Alabama Humanities Alliance
Mississippi Humanities Council
North Carolina Humanities
Humanities Texas
LGBTQ Fund of Mississippi
LGBTQ Fund of Greater Birmingham