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About Bill and Jean Nelson

William H. Nelson, Jr. (1949-1990), or Bill Nelson, as he was commonly addressed, was a prominent leader in the LGBT rights movement in Dallas during the pivotal years of the AIDS epidemic.

Bill was affiliated with the Dallas Gay Alliance, the Dallas Gay Political Caucus, the Foundation for Human Understanding, and various other groups. Nelson was also president of the Dallas Gay Alliance during 1984-1987. During these years, Nelson, along with others, formed the beginnings of what became the AIDS Resource Center or Resource Center, as it is known today. In the Dallas area, he was one of the key organizers for the 1979 March on Washington. He was also a founder of Razzle Dazzle Dallas, an annual fundraising event, which continues to this day. Based on ACT UP, out of New York, Gay Urban Truth Squad, or GUTS was another of Nelson's projects, where he and others raised public awareness on gay rights and AIDS issues through both protests and site installations. Nelson was also president of the Vickery Place Neighborhood Association (North Henderson Neighborhood Association), a member on the Board of Directors for the Dallas Homeowner's League and a member of the Texas Human Rights Foundation.

In 1985 and in 1987, Nelson ran for a seat on the Dallas City Council. In the first City Council run, Lori Palmer won the election. In the second run, in 1987, Nelson received 23,000 votes. During one of these elections, Nelson could not sign one of the candidate forms for the Council because, as an openly gay man, he could not abide by Texas Statute 21.06.

Bill Nelson, along with his partner, Terry Tebedo and their friend, William Waybourn, founded Crossroads Market, a store which supplied magazines, books, antiques, and jewelry. Through donations of canned goods for AIDS patients, Crossroads Market marked the beginnings of what would become the food pantry for the AIDS Resource Center.

In the Dallas Gay Alliance v. Parkland Hospital (City of Dallas) case (c. 1988-1990), Nelson, and members of the Dallas Gay Alliance, sued the City of Dallas over discriminatory practices by the hospital towards AIDS patients. AIDS patients were put on waiting lists for health care, and some had died because of not receiving treatment. Hundreds of these patients were also assigned to the same doctor, which slowed treatment time.

Nelson passed away in 1990 of AIDS-related complications and was preceded in death by Tebedo in 1988. The Nelson-Tebedo Clinic was named at the AIDS Resource Center in their honor. Jean Nelson, Bill's mother, participated in gay rights events in memory of her son until her death in 2016.

About the Collection

The digital collection available here contains letters, speeches, poetry, and memoirs predominately dated 1971-1990 written by mother and son, Jean and Bill Nelson. The corresponding physical collection is housed in the University of North Texas Special Collections. For more information about the physical collection, see the finding aid.

Acknowledgement

The Dallas Way generously funded the digitization of this collection.



At a Glance



Cite This Collection

Here is our suggested citation. Consult an appropriate style guide for conformance to specific guidelines.

William H. "Bill" Nelson, Jr. and Jean Nelson Collection (The Dallas Way) in UNT Digital Library. University of North Texas Libraries. https://digital.library.unt.edu/explore/collections/NELSON/ accessed July 5, 2022.


Explore Holdings

Start browsing through the holdings of this collection in one of the following ways:

Titles

Folder 33: Photos, Black and White Prints
36
Series 2: Audio/Visual
20
Folder 32: Photos, Bill Nelson and Terry Tebedo
17
Folder 34: Photos, Quilt
13
Folder 5: Memories, Dallas City Council
11
Folder 29: Bill and Jean Nelson Correspondence to Mike Anglin
10
Folder 36: Reprimand 1, Letters
8
Bill Nelson Dallas City Council Election 1985 DVD
6
Bill Nelson Dallas City Council Election 1987 DVD
6
Folder 23: Memories, W.T. White High School Welcome Back Flyer, Clipping, Obituary and Honoring Past VPNA Presidents
4
Goodbye Bill Nelson February 1990 DVD
4
Folder 10: Memories, Jean Nelson Speech, World AIDS Day, John Wesley United Methodist Church
3
Folder 24: Memories, Retrospective Letter to Bill Nelson from Jean Nelson
3
Folder 30: Black Tie Dinner, Humanitarian Award - Mike Anglin Speech; Jean Nelson Letter
3
Folder 15: Memories, Al Lipscomb Letter
2
Folder 28: Memories, E-Mail Correspondence About the Life of Bill Nelson and Terry Tebedo
2
Folder 2: Poems
2
Folder 9: Memories, House of Representatives Letters from John Bryant
2
KERA News Addition DVD
2
Folder 11: Memories, Jean Nelson - Story About Her Life
1
Folder 12: Memories, Letter to Jean Nelson from William Waybourn
1
Folder 13: Memories, Letter from Vic Basile
1
Folder 14: Memories, Letter from Craig Washington
1
Folder 16: Memories, Letter to Bob Ray Sanders from Jean Nelson
1
Folder 17: Memories, Jean Nelson Report on Omega House
1
Folder 18: Memories, Jean Nelson's Speech at the Opening of the Nelson-Tebedo Clinic
1
Folder 19: Memories, Diane Ragsdale Letter on the Life of Bill Nelson, 1990
1
Folder 1: Bill Nelson's Grand Marshal Medallion from the Texas Freedom Parade
1
Folder 1: Historical Poetry Written by Nelson
1
Folder 20: Memories, Fax Letter from Lori Palmer
1
Folder 21: Memories, Fax Letter from Vic Basile
1
Folder 22: Memories, Forwarded Fax Letter to William Waybourn from Craig Washington
1
Folder 25: Memories, David Cain Tribute Letter to Bill Nelson
1
Folder 26: Memories, Ann Richards Tribute Letter to Bill Nelson
1
Folder 27: Memories, Bill Hobby Tribute Letter to Bill Nelson
1
Folder 2: Memorial Service Sign-In Book
1
Folder 35: Photograph Envelope, Message from Jean Nelson
1
Folder 37: Reprimand 2, Notebook
1
Folder 3: Jean Nelson, 'What a Son" Letter
1
Folder 4: Memories, Clippings, "Never, Never, Never, Never Give Up
1
Folder 6: Memories, Dallas City Magazine
1
Folder 7: Memories, Attitude by Charles Swindoll
1
Folder 8: Memories, My Unbelievable Stroke at 88, Jean Nelson
1

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