Three Decades Of Atlanta's AIDS Epidemic Told Through A T-Shirt Quilt | WABE 90.1 FM

Three Decades Of Atlanta's AIDS Epidemic Told Through A T-Shirt Quilt

Feb 11, 2015

Over her three-decade career working with AIDS patients, Jacque Muther has amassed a lot of related T-shirts. As she prepares to retire, she's commissioned Juanita Williams to craft them into a keepsake quilt.
Credit Jim Burress / WABE


In June of 1987, a small group of people gathered in San Francisco, California. They feared history would soon forget their friends and loved ones who were quickly dying of AIDS.

Juanita Williams (left) asks Jacque Muther (right) about what she wants out of a T-shirt quilt. Muther commissioned Williams to create a quilt to commemorate Muther's three decades working in AIDS advocacy.
Credit Jim Burress / WABE

Members of that group came up with a collective idea ─ make a quilt. Many now know it as the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt. It has more than 48, 000 panels, and it is housed and cared for here in Atlanta. 

Juanita Williams jots notes about Jacque Muther's preferences. Williams says in addition to writing down highlights of the conversation, she's also visualizing what the quilt will look like.
Credit Jim Burress / WABE

By the time that group met, Jacque Muther was already working with Atlanta's early AIDS patients. Three decades later, she continues that work as a grants manager for the Ponce de Leon Center, which is part of the Grady Infectious Disease Program.

Later this year, Muther plans to retire.

To mark the decades of memories, she herself has commissioned a quilt. When finished, it will be a mash-up of panels made from T-shirts she's collected over the years. 

WABE's Jim Burress dropped in on Muther as she met with quilter Juanita Williams.