Hi everyone! I am excited to update you on the status of SpeakOut, the oral history project on LGBTQIA+ life at Dartmouth, which is very close to my heart. Over the past few years, I have been collaborating with the Dartmouth College Library and the History Department to define this initiative and shape its mission and vision. Per the announcement in the link below, the College has selected SpeakOut to be an official part of Dartmouth’s 250th Anniversary celebration. With the College’s formal support, the project will benefit from generous budgetary and staffing resources.
So why did I conceive this project? Shortly after becoming DGALA’s President in 2015, it became clear that there are gaps in our collective knowledge regarding LGBTQIA+ life on campus through the years. With the passing of some DGALA members who graduated in the 1950’s, I was struck by the fact that we had little information about their experiences as gay students during that era. Separately, based on conversations with current students, I learned that many had no knowledge whatsoever about the vitriolic campaign waged by The Dartmouth Review against LGBTQIA+ students during my own era, the 1980’s. These are just two threads of many that we will need to weave together to create a permanent and accessible record of our community’s history at Dartmouth. This is not an academic exercise, it is an imperative.
I am so grateful for the College’s support as well as that of DGALA’s Board of Directors. Without our engaged and committed partners, there was no way SpeakOut could have been realized. I’d like to give special recognition to two people who pushed to make this happen: Caitlin Birch, Digital Collections and Oral History Archivist at the Rauner Special Collections Library, and Professor Bethany Moreton from the History Department. They will be instrumental in driving this project forward with our students, alums, and various College contributors.
I will be in touch with more information about SpeakOut in the months ahead, but I hope that many of you will participate. Our stories, when collected together, will create an enduring tapestry of LGBTQIA+ life at Dartmouth over many decades, documenting days of adversity and triumph, days which should never be forgotten.
If you have thoughts on SpeakOut or on any other topic, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you!
Brendan Connell, Jr. ’87
President of DGALA