DENTON (UNT), Texas — The Dallas Way, a nonprofit organization dedicated to gathering, storing, organizing and presenting the complete history of the city’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community, has entered into an agreement with the University of North Texas Libraries to ensure that current and future materials collected by the organization will be permanently archived, digitized and made accessible to the public.
Created in 2011, the Dallas Way consists of lay historians who interview members of the LGBT community and record their experiences, and present some of the stories to the public through its Outrageous Oral storytelling series. The UNT Libraries will receive audio and video recordings of the interviews and Outrageous Oral events as well as books, newspapers, meeting minutes, photographs, promotional posters and other materials acquired or created by the Dallas Way. The materials will be known as The Dallas Way LGBT Collection of the UNT Libraries.
Dreanna Belden, the UNT Libraries’ assistant dean for external relations, noted that board members of The Dallas Way “are very well-connected in the community and have been integrally involved in the formation and inception of several iconic Dallas gay organizations,” including the Dallas Gay Alliance, the Foundation for Human Understanding and the Turtle Creek Chorale.
Buddy Mullino, president of The Dallas Way, said the organization “is thrilled with our collaborative effort with UNT to document and store the rich history and legacy of Dallas’ LGBT community and make these available to anyone who wants them.”
“In addition to writing and collecting written stories, we have had 36 stories shared to date in our Outrageous Oral storytelling program,” Mullino said. “This fall, we launched our oral history collections and are beginning to gather organization histories, photo archives and artifacts that will be part of UNT’s permanent archives.”
Representatives from the Dallas Way will build on existing relationships in the LGBT community to act as facilitators for those who wish to donate material to the UNT Libraries and have the material associated with The Dallas Way LGBT Collection.
Jack Evans and George Harris, founders of The Dallas Way, said the agreement with UNT “represents an important milestone in documenting the Dallas LGBT community and those leaders whose bravery and courage established the foundation for our fight for equality.”
Sue Parks, assistant dean for special libraries, notes that the agreement is formalizing a partnership that began when UNT Libraries officials began attending Dallas Way meetings. The libraries, which has housed recordings and transcripts from the Department of History’s Oral History Program since 1964, may provide Dallas Way members with training in oral history techniques, she said..
The Dallas Way archives will join approximately 100,000 items from the former Phil Johnson Historic Archives and Research Library of Dallas’ Resource Center. In August 2012, the Resource Center donated the collection, which includes newspapers; press clippings; audio and video files; T-shirts, buttons, posters and other event promotional items. Selected items are on display through Jan. 2 in the Rare Books and Archives room of UNT’s Willis Library.