On May 22nd, we celebrate Harvey Milk Day in honor of Harvey Milk – the visionary civil and human rights leader who became one of the first openly gay elected officials in the United States. In 1977, Milk won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Milk is most known for his authenticity as an openly gay candidate for public office. Milk’s triumphant election outcome gave a newfound sense of hope to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) people everywhere. Milk’s courage came at a time when the LGBT community often experienced hostility and discrimination. His political career was tragically cut short on November 27, 1978 when disgruntled former city Supervisor Dan White assassinated Milk and Mayor George Moscone.
Harvey Milk encouraged the participation of LGBT people and other minorities in the political process and believed that government should represent individuals and stand for the equality of all citizens. Milk’s legacy had a profound effect on the evolution of LGBT rights. Since his assassination, public views have shifted on gay marriage and other important LGBT issues. The Harvey Milk Foundation, established by his nephew, Stuart Milk, and Anne Kronenberg, his campaign manager and aide, is dedicated to realizing his vision of equality and authenticity for everyone, everywhere.
In honor of Harvey Milk’s legacy of civil and human rights leadership we have gathered seven primary source documents that add context and depth to his story.
The documents below, from the Archives of Sexuality & Gender, feature Milk’s correspondence with fellow LGBTQ activists, Del Martin and Phylis Lyons. You’ll also find his pledges to voters from the campaign, and gain insight into the effect his murder had on the LGBTQ community in San Francisco and elsewhere. Learn more about Gale’s newest release of Archives of Sexuality & Gender: LGBTQ History and Culture Since 1940, Part II.
“Rage” from The Body Politic, included in LGBTQ Culture & History 1940-present, part II
Gay Supervisor Wins Run-Off Election Bid, from The Body Politic, included in LGBTQ Culture & History 1940-present, part II
Dan White Released amid Protests, from Gaze, included in LGBTQ Culture & History 1940-present, part II