Voices of Minnesota

Not Waiting for a Cure Oral History Project


DATE: 1994-1995

INTERVIEWER: Fraser Nelson (project coordinator), Oliver Barr, Jennifer Benson, Jennifer Berger, Susan Davies, Venessa Fuentes, Rena Levin, Ryan Schram and Andy Streasick

In the early 1980s Minnesota began to struggle with a new public health and social challenge: Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, or AIDS.

The project documents Minnesota's response to AIDS from personal and sociopolitical perspectives. This collection includes nineteen narrations documenting the memory of those working in and lost to the epidemic. The narrators discuss the reasons for their AIDS actions, the effect the epidemic has had on their faith, their commitments to other issues and their image of the United States. Interviews were conducted in 1994 and 1995, when the epidemic was entering its second decade. At the time, many were assessing their ability to maintain their degree of involvement, and others long involved in the epidemic were facing death.

The project was coordinated by Fraser Nelson, who held the position of HIV Services Coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Health from 1989 to 1995. Additional narrations were collected by Macalester College students in a 1995 course, Feminist Methods in Research, under the direction of Nelson and Professor Michal McCall. Interviews with more than forty people living with or affected by AIDS were conducted as part of Not Waiting for a Cure. The full collection is available through Nelson.

LENGTH OF INTERVIEWS: 17 hours 53 minutes

TRANSCRIPTS: 324 pages