About Quad Cities Pride in Memory

Our Challenge is to Preserve Stories and Educate People about LGBTQ+ History

Our challenge is to document the stories and history of LGBTQ+ people in the Quad Cities before they are lost. We are sharing these stories through this website where oral histories will be accessible, along with supporting materials such as educational panels, visual artifacts, and research projects completed by Augustana students. This is an opportunity to educate future generations and to create a more welcoming and informed community. We have partnered with Quad Citians Affirming Diversity, Augustana College, Putnam Museum, Fourthwall Films, WVIK, QC Pride, Inc., The Project of the Quad Cities and One Human Family QCA, and we will be working with the public libraries in all of the Quad Cities.

The stories LGBTQ+ seniors have to tell are amazing. They are powerful stories of marginalized identities finding community amidst triumph and tragedy. The tragedy was all around them in societal persecution, discrimination and the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The triumph was in the fundamental changes in laws governing behavior, journeying toward acceptance personally and in the larger society, as well as in the bonds formed between diverse members of the community. Sharing the joys in these journeys helps all of us know how to move forward toward creating a more just and inclusive society.

In the last three years, we have lost two special giants in the good work of building community support for the LGBTQ+ community: Joyce Wiley (Founder of QCAD) and Clayton Peterson (founder of We Care Weekends and an active participant in what is now known as The Project of the Quad Cities). Their passing motivated a group of Quad Cities seniors to form a Pride in Memory Steering Committee to start recording oral histories during the pandemic. The Steering Committee has gone forward with creating a series of historical panels telling the LGBTQ+ history of the Quad Cities and having them on display at local libraries and other community venues. Historical artifacts have also been collected for donation and display at the Putnam Museum. Augustana students, in a class on queer theory, researched special topics on local LGBTQ+ history which is archived on this website. Fourthwall Films has also recorded key oral histories for inclusion in a documentary film on the local LGBTQ+ history in the Quad Cities. This website is on ongoing project, anticipating the inclusion of additional oral histories and artifacts as they become available.