Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Guide to the Billy DeFrank LGBT Silicon Valley Community Center Records
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (116.40 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Overview
Table of contents What's This?
On March 1, 1981 the Billy DeFrank Center opened its doors. Billy DeFrank LGBT Silicon Valley Community Center was organized in response to the housing discrimination that gays and lesbians faced in Santa Clara County. The Billy DeFrank LGBT Silicon Valley Community Center Records document the grassroots efforts of its founders to build a community center that supports the vast and diverse needs of the South Bay community of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. The central mission of the Billy DeFrank LGBT Silicon Valley Community Center is to work toward promoting a "positive social identification" by promoting civil rights to advance liberty and justice through collaboration and unity. The Billy DeFrank LGBT Silicon Valley Community Center Records (1970-1999) consist of news clippings, newsletters, and magazines. Included are a variety of related publications with an emphasis on program initiatives and health training resources, including ephemera and pamphlets. There is a sizeable photographic collection that contains pictures of social events hosted by the Billy DeFrank LGBT Silicon Valley Community Center, including Gay Pride San José and other social outings. This collection is arranged into three series: Series I, Organizational Records, 1978-97; Series II, Educational Outreach and Publicity 1971-1999; and Series III, Publications, 1970-1999.
The Billy DeFrank LGBT Silicon Valley Center opened on March 1, 1981 in downtown San José, California. The center was posthumously named after Billy DeFrank, the stage name of William Price (1936-1980). From San José, William Price was a well known African-American drag entertainer as well as a prominent gay rights activist who dedicated his talents to the development of gay communities throughout California. He was considered one of the "best-loved goodwill ambassadors" for the LGBT community. At the time LGBT activists were generally influenced by the political legacy of Stonewall. The Stonewall riots, the escalation of a series of violent confrontations between gay rights activists and police that began on June 28, 1969 outside the Stonewall Inn (a bar in New York City), became the genesis of an international gay rights movement focused on social justice and human rights for the LGBT community. The founders of the DeFrank Center concerned with practical challenges and most concerned about the lack of housing and employment protections for lesbians and gay men living in Santa Clara County envisioned transforming the legacy of the Stonewall riots by creating "a place to call home". The grassroots efforts to establish this LGBT center were driven by forces from within the Lambda Association Board of Directors of San José, San Jose Staté University's Women's Center, and other local activists. The center became the fulcrum whereby the large and diverse community of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered in the South Bay could find refuge. The inception of the center's success was marked by an increase in activist support from local political figures such Mayor Janet Gray Hayes in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The center continues to offer a safe haven for a large and diverse community.
17 box, 7.71 linear feet(approx)
Copyright has not been assigned to the San José State University Library Special Collections & Archives. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Special Collections & Archives as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader. Copyright restrictions also apply to digital reproductions of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.
The collection is open for research.