The Real Rainbow Row: Explorations in Charleston’s LGBTQ History
BY HARLAN GREENE
The Real Rainbow Row: Explorations in Charleston’s LGBTQ History (Evening Post Books) is a historical narrative of the unsung stories of the LGBTQ community in Charleston throughout history and up to as recently as 2022. Compiled and written by Harlan Greene, outreach archivist and South Carolina LGBTQ project coordinator in the College’s Addlestone Library Special Collections, the book serves as an archive of stories from the overlooked sexual minorities of Charleston.
With expertise in investigative research, Greene set out on this archival endeavor in 2017.
“Looking back on the books I have written, I see that it’s been the forgotten, the obscure and the subjects off the beaten track upon which I’ve tended to focus,” he says. “Archives are supposed to be like arks, taking stories on into time to counter the flood of forgetting. The great and the obvious have their champions – but the small and the hidden need theirs.”
The deliberate omission of the LGBTQ community from the historical record – and the lies that were told about them – were also a driving force for Greene. “In my day, the day of AIDS and HIV, there was the slogan, ‘Silence Equals Death,’ meaning if you did not speak up, you’d disappear,” he says. “The redaction of this community from history was terrifying. As George Orwell noted, ‘Who controls the past controls the future.’ And too many people distorted or erased the past for their own political reasons.”
Greene has been an archivist in Charleston for over 20 years now, and, while he is grateful to have published this work, he understands how much work remains.
“The whole story is not told – we need to work harder and harder in this age of pushback against the LGBTQ community to keep on documenting the history and supporting projects with funds and with stories,” he says. “Support will allow the work to continue.” – John Knobeloch
Michael J. Lee, director of graduate studies in the Department of Communication – We Are Not One People: Secession and Separatism in American Politics Since 1776 (Oxford University Press) traces the history of secessionism and separatism throughout U.S. history. The book considers the enduring appeal of withdrawal, exit and opting out in the U.S. and shows how a curious collection of individuals, states, regions and social movements have explored the legal, physical and symbolic territory between soft separatism and full-bore secession.
Blake C. Scott, assistant professor of international studies – Unpacked: A History of Caribbean Tourism (Cornell University Press) offers a creative and historical perspective on the Caribbean’s now-taken-for-granted desirability as a tourist paradise. At the start of the 20th century, travelers from North America and Europe thought of the Caribbean as diseased, dangerous and, according to many observers, “the white man’s graveyard.” How, then, did a trip to the Caribbean become a supposedly fun and safe experience? Unpacked explores how advances in tropical medicine, perceptions of the tropical environment and development of infrastructure and transportation networks transformed it.