New collection about pro- and anti-LGBTQ activities in Cobb County, Georgia circa 1995 are now available freely online

Image of LGBTQ+ activist, presenting male, speaking into a microphone during a press gaggle.

Pro- and anti-LGBTQ activities and demonstrations in Cobb County circa 1995 are the main component of a new digital collection belonging to Georgia State University Special Collections, funded by a competitive digitization grant awarded by the Digital Library of Georgia (DLG). GSU Special Collections received a service grant awarded in 2020 to broaden the DLG’s engagement with diverse institutions and collections across the state of Georgia. 

The Carol Brown Papers, 1993-2012 (bulk 1993-1994) document pro- and anti- LGBTQ+ activities and legislation in Cobb County, and belong to Georgia State University Special Collections’ LGBTQ Digital Collection, available at https://digitalcollections.library.gsu.edu/digital/collection/lgbtq.  

In July of 1993, in response to complaints by residents, Cobb County Chairman Bill Byrne challenged county funding for Marietta’s Theatre in the Square, particularly as two of its plays– David Henry Hwang’s M. Butterfly and Terrence McNally’s Lips Together, Teeth Apart — included mild gay themes. 

In August, Cobb County commissioner Gordon Wysong led the Cobb County Board of Commissioners to two anti-LGBT+ resolutions: one specifying that funding would only be provided for art that promoted “strong community, family-oriented standards,” and the other stating that “lifestyles advocated by the gay community should not be endorsed by government policymakers, because they are incompatible with the standards to which this community subscribes; and that gay lifestyle units are directly contrary to state law.” 

Marietta civic leader and activist Jon Greaves and local community members immediately responded by organizing together as the Cobb Citizens Coalition (CCC) to challenge the resolutions.

The CCC gained important allies in February 1994, when Atlanta-based activists Pat Hussain and Jon-Ivan Weaver established Olympics Out of Cobb County (OOCC). Their mission was to persuade Atlanta’s Committee for the Olympic Games not to hold the women’s volleyball competition in Cobb County as planned. Their efforts succeeded: ultimately, the women’s volleyball competition was held in Athens at the University of Georgia instead, and the Olympic torch bypassed Cobb County altogether. 

While CCC was active, CCC member and Marietta resident Carol Brown documented the organization’s activities and those of OOCC by recording protests, marches, and local news coverage, using audiocassettes, videotape, and photography. 

She also saved almost-daily newspaper reports, providing a wide range of coverage of events as they unfolded in Cobb County. The audiovisual materials have been digitized and described by the DLG as part of its service grant, and the newspaper reports were digitized in-house at Georgia State University. 

Carol Brown also recounted her personal memories in an oral history that is part of the Activist Women’s Oral History Project. Together, they provide a rich and powerful narrative about a small community’s response to local discrimination that garnered international interest. 

Carol Brown’s materials are unique and significant to Georgia because so much of Georgia’s recorded LGBTQ+ history has been Atlanta-focused. Carol Brown’s materials focus on pro-and anti- LGBTQ+ activities in traditionally conservative Cobb County. They are also important because they highlight several challenging backstories about art censorship, community protest, and the 1995 Olympic Games that garnered national and international interest. 

View the collection online

###

More about the Carol Brown Papers, 1993-2012 (bulk 1993-1994) Collection

Digitization of audiovisual items from the Carol Brown Papers, 1993-2012 (bulk 1993-1994) focusing on pro-and anti- LGBTQ+ activities in traditionally conservative Cobb County and the campaign to move 1996 Olympic events out of the County. Furthermore, in a time of daily protest that we find ourselves in now, the collection illustrates the power of creative, peaceful protest.

About the Georgia State University Special Collections and Archives (Women’s/ Gender and Sexuality Collections)

The Women’s Collections chronicle women’s activism and advocacy in Georgia and the Southeast. Within this curatorial area are several notable collections: the Donna Novak Coles Georgia Women’s Movement Archives, the Lucy Hargrett Draper Collections on Women’s Rights, Advocacy and the Law, and the Archives for Research on Women. For more information, read the Women’s Collections research guides at research.library.gsu.edu/womenscollections. The Gender and Sexuality Collections document LGBTQ+ communities in Georgia and the Southeast. For more information, read the Gender and Sexuality research guide at https://research.library.gsu.edu/c.php?g=912561.

About the Digital Library of Georgia

Based at the University of Georgia Libraries, the Digital Library of Georgia is a GALILEO initiative that collaborates with Georgia’s libraries, archives, museums, and other institutions of education and culture to provide access to key information resources on Georgia history, culture, and life. This primary mission is accomplished by developing, maintaining, and preserving digital collections and online digital library resources. DLG also serves as Georgia’s service hub for the Digital Public Library of America and as the home of the Georgia Newspaper Project, the state’s historic newspaper microfilming project. 

Visit the DLG at dlg.usg.edu.

Facebook: http://facebook.com/DigitalLibraryofGeorgia/ 

Twitter: @DigLibGA

 

Selected stills from the collection: 

Image of LGBTQ+ activist, presenting male, speaking into a microphone during a press gaggle.
Image courtesy of Georgia State University. Special Collections Title : [Press conference to announce rally on Square, June ’94. Raw footage. CD ???] Description: Still image from a video recording of a press conference held to announce a demonstration entitled “And justice for all, Cobb rally for human rights” to be held on August 28, 1993, the 30th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Leaders from three co-sponsoring organizations, the Marietta Interfaith Alliance, the Network for Social Responsibility, and the Cobb Citizens Coalition, give statements and answer questions from the press about the rally and their reasons for holding it, which is for the Cobb Commission to change or rescind an anti-LGBTQ+/anti-gay resolution negating the human rights of gay citizens of Cobb County, Georgia.
Image of civil rights activist and public intellectual Loretta Ross, seated, speaking into a microphone
Image courtesy of Georgia State University. Special Collections Title : [Stop Hate Politics seminar 11/6/1993. Meg Riley, Hans Johnson, Loretta Ross. Tape 1] Description: Still image from video recording of a portion of the “Stop Hate in Politics” seminar entitled “Righting the Wrongs of the Religious Right…Can We?” which took place on November 6, 1993. The recording presents speakers (including civil rights activist and public intellectual Loretta Ross, shown in this image) who discuss the manner in which right-wing Christian fundamentalists have weaponized their response to American liberal politics, and the importance of building common ground against violent right-wing trends.
Share

Georgia Public Library Service Releases “Georgia’s Treasures” Guide to Genealogy, History and Culture

The front cover of the newly released genealogy booklet, “Georgia’s Treasures.”

This press release is part of a series of guest posts contributed by our partners at HomePLACE, a project of the Georgia Public Library Service. HomePLACE works with Georgia’s public libraries and related institutions to digitize historical content for inclusion in the Digital Library of Georgia.

Georgia’s Treasures: Exploring Your Genealogy, History and Culture at Public Libraries” is now available at public libraries across the state. This 16-page, full-color booklet showcases the genealogy resources found in numerous public libraries in Georgia.

“As families come together this holiday season, we hope this booklet will inspire future visits to Georgia’s public libraries. Whether visitors are new to uncovering family history or seasoned genealogy researchers, these distinctive collections offer something for everyone,” said State Librarian Julie Walker.

The booklet was inspired by four major public library history and genealogy collections: the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History, part of the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System; the Ellen Payne Odom Genealogy Library, part of the Moultrie-Colquitt County Library System; the Genealogical and Historical Room and Middle Georgia Archives, located in Macon and part of the Middle Georgia Regional Library System; and the Ladson Genealogy Library, located in Vidalia and part of the Ohoopee Regional Library System.

Combined, these collections offer nearly 185,000 print volumes and 50,000 reels of microfilm of genealogy, local history and culture, as well as hundreds of original archival collections. An additional six libraries in Athens, Augusta, Brunswick, Savannah, Marietta and Washington are noted for their impressive collections, public programs and reference services.

“We are so proud to be featured among all the amazing genealogy collections in Georgia,” said Moultrie-Colquitt County Library Director Holly Phillips. “We hope even more people will be aware, and take advantage, of all the resources we have to offer at the Odom Library. We’re also pleased to be able to help promote other libraries’ materials to further the important mission of genealogical research.”

In addition to physical collections, every public library card holder in the state can access online genealogy tools like HeritageQuest from home through GALILEO – Georgia’s Virtual Library – as well as Ancestry Library Edition at their local library branch. Researchers anywhere also have access to the Virtual Vault, a digital collection of resources from the state library’s sister organization, the Georgia Archives. Links to these resources, as well as to a PDF version of the booklet, can be found here.

Share