Sharing Southern Stories

Hooper Schultz stands on campus at UNCHooper Schultz ‘14, a native of Raleigh, found his way back to North Carolina by way of working in marketing and media — first in New York City and later in Charleston, South Carolina.

As a former editorial assistant at Charleston Magazine and editor of an online alternative weekly publication, he found stories from older gay or lesbian people compelling, which sparked an abiding interest in how those stories were told — or not.

Initially, Schultz considered queer literature in the South as an area of focus during graduate school, but after learning about the Invisible Histories Project, a repository of LGBTQ history in Alabama and beyond while pursuing his master’s degree, he became more interested in gay conferences throughout the Southeast — the first of which was held in 1976 on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus.

Now a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History, part of the College of Arts and Sciences, his dissertation focuses on the history of gay liberation student activism on college campuses in the United States during the 1970s and the ensuing discrimination the LGBTQ community faced from government ordinances.

Schultz works as a graduate student under Katherine Turk as his advisor and gathers oral histories as a field scholar with the Southern Oral History Program as he hopes to influence the future of the South.

“I’m an oral historian,” Schultz said. “Many of the people who were involved in early gay liberation activism are still living, and a lot of mainstream newspapers weren’t writing about it at the time.”

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