Conference: Living Queer History –

Join historian Samantha Rosenthal for a talk about an LGBTQ community in Roanoke, Virginia, about how queer people think about the past today and how history lives on in the present.

Queer history is a living practice. Talk to any group of LGBTQ people today, and they won’t agree on which story to tell. In her book Living Queer History, Samantha Rosenthal tells the story of a small town on the edge of Appalachia. Weaving together historical analysis, theory, and memoir, Rosenthal tells the story of their own journey—coming out and becoming a transgender woman—amid a community history project that documented a southern, multigenerational LGBTQ community. Based on over forty interviews with LGBTQ elders, Living Queer History explores how queer people think about the past today and how history lives on in the present.

Gregory Samantha Rosenthal (she/they/they) is an Associate Professor of History and Coordinator of the Public History Concentration at Roanoke College. She is co-founder of the Southwest Virginia LGBTQ+ History Project, a nationally recognized queer public history initiative. Her work has been recognized by the National Council on Public History, the Oral History Association, the Committee on LGBT History, the American Society for Environmental History, and the Working Class Studies Association. Samantha is the author of two books, Beyond Hawaiʻi: Native Labor in the Pacific World (2018) and Living Queer History: Remembrance and Belonging in a Southern City (2021).

The content and opinions expressed in these presentations are solely those of the speaker and not necessarily of the Virginia Museum of History & Culture.

Program notes:

Tickets are required for in-person admission. Tickets are not necessary if you prefer to join us live on YouTube or Facebook.

Members enjoy free admission. VMHC members, remember to log in to reserve your ticket.

In-person attendees are invited to meet the author at the book signing immediately after the conference.

Signed copies of the book will also be available on

Angela C. Hale