The Southern Voice newspaper, also known as SOVO, was an alternative news source for lesbians and gay men in the greater Atlanta area and Southeast for over 20 years. The paper was founded in 1988 by Christina Cash and Leigh VanderEls with a bi-weekly circulation of 5,000 copies. Southern Voice provided coverage of local and national events, editorials, and guides to local arts and entertainment. Circulation grew to 15,000 within two years, reaching a maximum readership of 100,000 during the 2000s. KSU Archives researchers have used the Southern Voice collection for exhibits, and class projects. Now, users of the Digital Library of Georgia and DPLA will be able to research local Georgia history, journalism, LGBT rights, and other issues.
Heather Oswald, Archivist and Coordinator of Outreach in the KSU Archives has been working with the Southern Voice collection since its initial donation, placing emphasis on making the paper as widely available as possible. She notes: “Southern Voice grew out of the need for a dedicated news source for the LGBT community following the 1987 March on Washington. From its initial publication in 1988, it functioned as one of the only papers targeted toward LGBT issues in the southeast, providing information on topics such as the fight against AIDS, marriage equality, discrimination, and violence against gay individuals. In addition, it provided alternative perspectives on major issues to those presented by the mainstream media. ”
The KSU Archives is working to locate, preserve, and digitize a complete run of the paper. Although they acquired a significant number of Southern Voice issues from donor David McLaughlin, they are still seeking a number of issues. Oswald has worked with colleagues from Atlanta-area institutions to help fill in gaps in the collection; these partners include the Atlanta History Center, Georgia State University, and Emory University. If you, or anyone you know, may have held on to back issues of the Southern Voice, please contact the KSU Archives at firstname.lastname@example.org. For information on the specific issues the KSU Archives is missing, visit https://archives.kennesaw.edu/lgbtq-publications-collection.
We hope that you enjoy this important new resource!