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Donaldson Wells King papers

Identifier: MS0506

Scope and Contents

The Donaldson Wells King Papers include correspondence, writings, personal memorabilia, documentation of King's involvement in the Charlotte LGBT community, as well as subject files and assorted publications.


  • Creation: 1955 - 2007


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The Donaldson King papers are the physical property of J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections. Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Biographical Note

Donaldson Wells King was born in 1942 in Wilmington, NC.

King worked as a journalist, first at papers in Rocky Mount and Durham in the late 1960s before moving to Charlotte in the early 1970s to work at The Charlotte Observer. While a mainstream journalist, King helped to guide the community and his colleagues in positive media portrayals of the LGBT community.

Beginning in the mid-to-late 1970s, King helped to organize and lead organizations like Dignity and Acceptance, early LGBT support and social groups.

In 1981, he and the late Billie Rose founded Queen City Quordinators (QCQ), a joint fundraising umbrella group for organizations like Acceptance, the Gay & Lesbian Switchboard, Lambda Political Caucus and the Metropolitan Community Church of Charlotte. King was also a charter member of the church.

In 1983, King assisted with the early “Q-Notes” newsletter for QCQ. In June 1986, coinciding with the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riots, the newsletter was re-established as a monthly print newspaper. King was hired as the publication’s first editor serving through September 1987.

In 1986, King’s Closet Buster Productions produced the “Gay/Lesbian Forum,” the first local cable show on gay and lesbian issues. King also founded and operated the Friends of Dorothy Bookstore.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, King took an outspoken role challenging the local police harassment and entrapment of gay men. His efforts eventually led to significant changes in the way local law enforcement treated gay men.

In 1993, Don King was awarded the inaugural Community Service Award in Charlotte. The awards were later renamed in his honor as the Don King Community Service Awards and continue today as the Charlotte Business Guild Awards.

King passed on October 30, 2014, from pancreatic cancer.

Source: "Don King, early Charlotte LGBT community pioneer, dies at 72," Matt Comer, November 7, 2014, Q-Notes. Accessed 2015 September 18,


4 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Contains King's writings for The Rocky Mount Telegram, Durham Morning Herald and The Charlotte Observer as well as his personal correspondence and documentation of his work in Charlotte's LGBT community. Also contains subject files primarily concerning LGBT issues and assorted publications.


The collection is arranged into the following six series: Correspondence, Writing, Personal, Community, Subject Files and Publications.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Materials were received from Gene Sloan, executor of the Donaldson Wells King Estate, February 2015.


Forms part of the King-Henry-Brockington LGBTQ+ Archive.

Processing Information

Materials were processed June 2015 by Nikki Lynn Thomas, Archivist for Collection Management.

Donaldson Wells King Papers
Nikki Lynn Thomas
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Repository Details

Part of the Manuscript Collections, J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections and University Archives, UNC Charlotte Repository

Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
9201 University City Blvd
Charlotte NC 28223 United States

About this Site

Finding aids are guides to archival collections, including manuscripts, university records, and oral history collections. These guides help you find physical collections which can be viewed in the Dalton Reading Room on the 10th floor of Atkins Library. A small number of finding aids link to digital content online. Please contact us to learn more or to schedule an appointment:

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