The Dallas Way elects board and officers, unveils model 1-page entry
DAVID TAFFET | Staff Writer
For almost a year, members of Dallas’ LGBT community have been meeting informally to begin a project to collect and archive the community’s history.
On Tuesday, Jan. 17, The Dallas Way formalized itself by electing a board of directors and officers and filing for nonprofit status.
A year ago Jack Evans, now president of The Dallas Way, and his partner George Harris celebrated their 50th anniversary. The couple told their story in the Dallas Voice and on the radio, and Evans concluded that the interest people showed was really an interest in the broader topic of Dallas LGBT history.
The Dallas Way board member Robert Emery said, “We need to focus and clarify and collect our history to strengthen our community and to be a source of inspiration for the young.”
Bruce Monroe, who served as president of the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance in the early 1990s, created a Facebook page to promote the group and begin collecting stories.
Emery said the final account of the events, groups and people that make up Dallas LGBT history will be scholarly studies compiled and approved by a committee.
Emery’s vision for the group is that The Dallas Way will accurately tell the story of the community and be a reliable source for researchers in the future.
“If you see our stamp in an archive, we hope that will be the definitive story on that subject,” he said.
Writing the history of the community may seem like a daunting task, but Emery said each entry will be just one page.
“I’m not asking you to write a book,” Emery said. But he added that keeping some entries to one page might prove just as difficult as writing a comprehensive history.
Attorney Rebecca Covell, who was also elected to The Dallas Way’s board on Tuesday, called each entry “a gay wiki page.”
One of DGLA’s founders, Mike Anglin, produced the group’s first entry — the story of Bill Nelson. Anglin’s one-page document summarizes the contributions of the man for whom the health clinic on Cedar Springs
Road is named. But Anglin said that links in the article will refer readers to additional one-page stories — Nelson as the first openly gay man to run for Dallas city council, his Cedar Springs store Crossroads Market, how the food pantry began as a shelf in Crossroads Market and many other contributions he made to the community.
To research the story, Anglin called Nelson’s mother, Jean, who is now in her 80s and lives in Houston. She told Anglin she was relieved that he contacted her because she wanted her son’s memory preserved. She sent him boxes of photos and other memorabilia of his activist work — from a laminated copy of a Dallas Times Herald magazine cover to a mock-up of the quilt panel she designed for her son and his partner, Terry Tebedo.
Board member Stan Aten contacted the University of North Texas, which agreed to work with The Dallas Way to help archive and digitize the material.
Two high school students attended Tuesday’s meeting who are members of the Booker T. Washington and Greenhill School Gay Straight Alliances.
Booker T. senior Truett Davis said he became interested in learning about the Dallas LGBT community beyond his GSA when DGLA President Patti Fink and Resource Center Dallas Executive Director and CEO Cece Cox spoke at his school.
“This will give perspective to young people about what has taken place,” Davis said. “This will tell us what has taken place and help us solve problems in the future. What’s already been done is important.”
The Dallas Way meets the first Tuesday of the month in the Park Room, Park Tower Condominiums, 3310 Fairmount Street at 7 p.m. Interested community members are welcome to attend a meeting or contact the group through its Facebook page.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 20, 2012.