01/AR0889 Guide to the John Thomas Papers (The Dallas Way) Thomas, John Finding Aid Authors: S. Ivie.

© Copyright 2020 University of North Texas Special Collections. All rights reserved.

University of North Texas, Wilis Library 1155 Union Circle # 305190 Denton, TX, 76203 URL: http://libiow.library.unt.edu/Archon321
This finding aid was encoding in EAD by Archon 3.21 from an SQL database source on May 8th, 2020. The collection description/finding aid is written in English
Guide to the John Thomas Papers (The Dallas Way) University of North Texas Special Collections Overview of the Collection John Thomas Papers (The Dallas Way) 1976-2016 1976-1999 01/AR0889 1.00 University of North Texas Special Collections
University of North Texas, Wilis Library 1155 Union Circle # 305190 Denton, TX, URL: http://libiow.library.unt.edu/Archon321
The John Thomas Collection contains the papers of John Thomas prior to, during, and after his time as the first Executive Director of the AIDS Resource Center.
Administrative History:

John David Thomas (1946-1999) was born on June 20th, 1946 in Bucyrus, Ohio, the son of a Baptist minister and a nurse. John’s faith played a significant role in his life, even though certain denominations were not often accepting of gay lifestyles. In college, the Campus Crusade for Christ International (CCC) removed him from their organization due to his sexual preference. He later wrote a letter to the group along with a list of his current accomplishments for humanitarian causes that he pursued while he lived and worked in Dallas, Texas.

Prior to moving to Texas, John Thomas worked for the Miami Herald, where he was widely respected. He worked for the Dallas Times Herald afterward where he became increasingly involved in gay rights activism along with his colleagues Bill Nelson, Terry Tebedo, William Waybourn and others.

Nelson, Tebedo and Thomas were also part of the Gay Urban Truth Squad, a sub-group of the Dallas Gay Alliance that informed the public on various gay and AIDS-related issues in a way very similar to the modern day anti-smoking television ads. John Thomas was involved with many of the core LGBT organizations in north Texas, such as the Dallas Gay Alliance (now known as the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance), the Foundation for Human Understanding, Black Tie Dinner, Cathedral of Hope (Metropolitan Community Church of Dallas), Turtle Creek Chorale (a men’s chorus group which he performed with), Razzle Dazzle Dallas, Log Cabin Republicans, and most importantly, the AIDS Resource Center (now called the Resource Center Dallas).

John Thomas was the first executive director of the AIDS Resource Center, where he championed causes for HIV/AIDS patients and other issues specific to the LGBT community. During his time at the center, Thomas was one of the plaintiffs in Morales vs. the State of Texas, a case that challenged Texas Penal Code 21.06.  Deemed unconstitutional by Lawrence v. Texas, 123 S.Ct. 2472, the law illegalized deviant sexual intercourse.

John Thomas continued to work at the AIDS Resource Center until 1996 when he retired due to AIDS-related illness. Never one to quit, John Thomas continued to support his favorite causes even in retirement.

John Thomas died on January 22nd, 1999 of AIDS-related complications. In his honor, the Cathedral of Hope constructed the John Thomas Memorial Bell Wall, which is a national AIDS memorial. The Gay and Lesbian Center at the Resource Center Dallas was renamed the John Thomas Gay and Lesbian Center in his honor. For his extensive work within the community and his commitment to equal rights, Mr. Thomas is considered to be a hero to many in the LGBT community and its allies. He was one of many who succeeded in bringing attention to the AIDS outbreak in Dallas in the early 1980s, influencing public opinion on the issue, and bringing together many individuals from varying backgrounds to work for a singular cause.

Administrative Information Acquisition Information:




Conditions Governing Use:

Reproduction and publication of materials in this collection are subject to the policies of the UNT Special Collections department. Copyright restrictions may apply.

Preferred Citation:

John Thomas Papers (The Dallas Way), University of North Texas Special Collections

Related Materials:

Resource Center LGBT Collection of the UNT Libraries

William H. "Bill" Nelson, Jr. and Jean Nelson Collection (The Dallas Way)

Donald F. Baker Collection (The Dallas Way)

Linda Jebavy Mitchell Collection (The Dallas Way)

Bruce Monroe Collection (The Dallas Way)

Scope and Contents

This collection contains the papers of John David Thomas. The collection includes correspondences with William Waybourn, Mike Anglin, Don Baker and others in the gay community, as well as articles published in local papers and magazines. Copies of the John Thomas memorial card, personal documentation of his health as someone living with HIV/AIDS, his activism, letters dealing with his time with the Campus Crusade for Christ, time at the Miami Herald, his thoughts on gay rights and AIDS issues, meeting minutes, as well as letters to his family are part of this collection.

Detailed List of Contents id187861 Papers id187862 1 703100 id187863 1 1 Correspondence, Eulogy, Memorial, Quotes, HIV and AIDS 1987, 1990, 1995-1996, 1998-1999 id187864 1 2 Religion, Correspondence, Rally, Articles, Credit Union and Gifts, Nova University and Miami Herald Promotion 1976, 1987, 1991-1993, 1998 id187865 1 3 Correspondence: John Thomas and William Waybourn 1982-1987, 1990 id187866 1 4 Memorial Program, Birthday Invitation, Articles, Correspondence, Postcards 1980, 1982, 1985, 1992, 1994-1998 id187867 1 5 Correspondence, Memos, Cards, Articles 1980-1982, 1984, 1988 id187868 1 6 Articles, Letter and Photograph 1978-1982, 1992, 2000 id187869 1 7 Mike Anglin/Tim York Correspondence; Crosses - Activism 1988-1989, 2015-2016 id187870 1 8 John Thomas Memorial Programs and Articles; Cathedral of Hope 1998-1999 id190924 1 9 Correspondence, Letters and Articles 1995-1996