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31 years, one million thank yous

by Jeremy Hooper

Picture 18-3547 years go by. Harvey lives and he loves. He has successes and he has failures. He galvanizes San Francisco's Castro Street area, raising the consciousnesses of both gay and straight residents. Here are some of those early developments:

[Brush up on your Harvey: A Prequel]

But then, after a few unsuccessful bids, an icon is born:

>> November 8, 1977


>> January 9, 1978: Harvey is sworn in as city supervisor:

Feinstein named President of Board [Oakland Tribune (1/10/1978)]

>> March 20, 1978: Harvey is instrumental in passing a local law that bars discrimination based on sexual orientation:

S.F. law Bars anti-gay bias [Oakland Tribune]

>> Fall of 1978: Be it Anita Bryant's figurative sh*t or local dogs' literal variety, Harvey's on the job:

Picture 23-20

>> Election season of 1978: Harvey plays a key role in defeating The Briggs Initiative (Prop 6), a particularly cruel ballot initiative that would have barred gay teachers:

Briggs2Picture 17-46

Anti-gays predict place on ballot [AP via Oakland Tribune (3/28/1978)]
Briggs Initiative [Wiki]

>> November 18, 1978: The Jonestown massacre, with casualties largely consisting of Bay Area residents, puts an eerie pallor over the San Francisco:

>> 11/27/1978:


>> Same day coverage of the assassination:

>> Jan-May of 1979: Dan White's trial:

A Front Row Seat at the Dan White Trial: Dan White Courtroom Drawings [Telenaut Communications]
Daniel James White Trial: 1979 - Double Execution [Law Library]
Daniel James White Trial: 1979 - Unique Defense [Law Library]

>> May of 1979: The verdict, largely seen as unjust, sparked what would become known as the "White Night Riots":

White Night Riots [Wiki]
White Night & Milk's b-day [Uncle Don's Castro Street]

>> 1982: Randy Shilts writes legendary biography, The Mayor of Castro Street: The Life and Times of Harvey Milk. Instrumental in breaking in breaking Harvey's story and senseless killing out onto the national scene:

The Mayor of Castro Street [Google Books]

>> 1984: The Oscar winning documentary film The Times of Harvey Milk is released:

Opening ten minutes:

A portion of Harvey's posthumous words, as presented in the film:

**You can watch the film, in full, on this Youtube channel: 10speedrockingbike

Siskel & Ebert reviewing the film:

NY Times review of the film (11/7/84)

The director of the documentary, Rob Epstein, has just written a new piece for The Huffington Post: What Harvey Milk Tells Us About Proposition 8 [HuffPo]

>> October 22, 1985: Dan White commits suicide:


>> 1985: Harvey Milk High School opens in NYC as a non-diploma-granting alternative institution. In 2003, it reopened as an expanded, accredited, four-year, diploma-granting school:

Harvey Milk High School [Wiki]

>> A Harvey Milk opera?! Yes, in 1995, there was one:

OPERA REVIEW; 'Harvey Milk' Opens in Houston With the Reverence Built In [NY Times]
MUSIC REVIEW; 'Harvey Milk,' a Gay Opera As a Grand Coming-Out Party [NY Times]

>> In 1998, The San Francisco Chronicle looked back at the double-murder on its 20th anniversary:

THE MOSCONE - MILK KILLINGS: 20 years later [SF Gate]

>> November, 2008:

Story of S.F. gay rights hero Harvey Milk finally makes it to the big screen [Mercury News]
'Milk' exposes paradox for screen's leading men [Chicago Tribune]
It took Josh Brolin awhile to get to the land of 'Milk' and money [Pioneer Press]
'I wanted evidence of these lives that were cut short' [Boston Globe]
Remembering George Moscone [LA Times]
"Milk" is more than a movie [Denver Post]
'Milk' poured into Prop 8 debate [Variety]
Milk Cast Spills: Penn Calls Prop 8 "Manslaughter" [Gothamist]
Activists Seek to Tie ‘Milk’ to a Campaign for Gay Rights [NY Times]
More Milk For You [Towleroad]

**MILK: In theaters November 26 (wide release 12/5)**

>> The future:

We all work to make Harvey proud.

We're Good As You, and we're here to recruit you!

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Your thoughts

Thanks Jeremy for making me weepy at my desk on a Monday morning. Usually weepy days are Tuesdays and Thursdays. No but seriously, Harvey Milk was a hero to me as well as an inspiration.

I'm usually a puddle after watching the Times of Harvey Milk on DVD. Same thing happens to me after watching a James Baldwin documentary, The Price of the Ticket.

The gay movement (or society as a whole) needs people like Milk and Baldwin, if not for their voices, then for their visibility. Beacons of light and hope much like our president elect.

Posted by: John Ozed | Nov 24, 2008 9:10:31 AM

how can i download it

Posted by: How To Be A Good Supervisor | Nov 25, 2008 2:58:19 AM

Consider us well recruited....Go get em... MILK is good for us all.

Posted by: LOrion | Nov 26, 2008 12:35:58 PM

You can read an article from the San Francisco Chronicle the day after Harvey Milk was killed that features excerpts his reflections on the possibility of being assassinated. They were from the tape recorded reflections featured in the film.

Go to www.OutHistory.org or click to:


Posted by: Ron Schlittler | Dec 2, 2008 3:38:54 PM

Just to set the record straight, so to speak, there has been extensive coverage of the film citing Milk as either the first out gay man in the nation or the first out gay person. The narrative in the film makes the same assertion - but turns out it is not true. Milk was certainly among the first, but I think he would prefer the truth be known. The following is my letter to the Washington Post that was published on Saturday.


Gay Officials Who Blazed Trails

Saturday, November 29, 2008; Page A13

Post staff writer Ann Hornaday is not the only one recently to assert that Harvey Milk was the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in the United States ["By Delivering Poignant Depth, 'Milk' Hits the Stirring Heights," Style, Nov. 26].

Milk was the first openly gay person elected in California, in November 1977, but Allan Spear was elected to the Minnesota Senate in 1972. Spear came out in 1974 and was reelected in 1976. He served for 28 years and retired in 2000. The last seven years of his time in office, he served as president of the Senate. Spear passed away this past Oct. 11, which was ironic since the date is National Coming Out Day.

For the record, Kathy Kozachenko became the first openly gay person elected to public office in the United States in January 1974 when she was elected to the Ann Arbor (Mich.) City Council.

In November that year, after a campaign that included bullets fired through the windows of her campaign office, Elaine Noble made international news when she was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Like Milk, Noble is often incorrectly cited as the first openly gay elected official.

-- Ron Schlittler

The writer is the creator of "Out and Elected in the USA," a photo-text project housed at http:/ / www.OutHistory.org.

Posted by: ron schlittler | Dec 2, 2008 3:44:05 PM

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