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Harvey Milk

American politician who became a martyr in the gay community

Harvey Bernard Milk (May 22, 1930 – November 27, 1978) was an American politician and a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. He was the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California.[1] He did not focus on homosexuality or gay activism at first, but did later on in his career.

Harvey Milk
A black and white photograph of Harvey Milk sitting at the mayor's desk
Milk in 1978
Member of the
San Francisco Board of Supervisors
from District 5
In office
January 8, 1978 – November 27, 1978
Preceded byDistrict Created
Succeeded byHarry Britt
(appointed)
ConstituencyThe Castro,
Haight-Ashbury,
Duboce Triangle,
Noe Valley
Personal details
Born
Harvey Bernard Milk

(1930-05-22)May 22, 1930
Woodmere, New York
DiedNovember 27, 1978(1978-11-27) (aged 48)
San Francisco, California
NationalityAmerican
Political partyDemocratic
ResidenceSan Francisco
Alma materUniversity at Albany
ProfessionPolitician, business owner
Military service
AllegianceUnited States of America
Branch/serviceUnited States Navy
Years of service1951–1955
RankUS-O2 insignia.svg Lieutenant, junior grade
UnitUSS Kittiwake (ASR-13)
Battles/warsKorean War Era

Milk moved from New York City to live in San Francisco in 1972. This was a time when lots of gay men moved to live in the Castro District of San Francisco. Milk became a city supervisor in 1977.

Milk served 11 months in office and helped gay rights in the city. On November 27, 1978, Milk and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated (murdered) by Dan White in San Francisco. White was another city supervisor who had recently resigned but wanted his job back.

Milk became an icon in San Francisco and "a martyr for gay rights", according to University of San Francisco professor Peter Novak.[2] In 2002, Milk was called "the most famous and most significantly open LGBT official ever elected in the United States".[3] Anne Kronenberg, his final campaign manager, wrote of him: "What set Harvey apart from you or me was that he was a visionary. He imagined a righteous world inside his head and then he set about to create it for real, for all of us."[4] Milk was posthumously given the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama on August 12, 2009.

Popular quotes include "If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door", "The fact is that more people have been slaughtered in the name of religion than for any other single reason. That, that my friends, that is true perversion!"[source?].

ReferencesEdit

  1. Cone, Russ (January 8, 1978). "Feinstein Board President", The San Francisco Examiner, p. 1.
  2. Nolte, Carl (November 26, 2003). "City Hall Slayings: 25 Years Later", The San Francisco Chronicle, p. A-1.
  3. Smith, Raymond, Haider-Markel, Donald, eds., (2002). Gay and Lesbian Americans and Political Participation, ABC-CLIO. ISBN 1576072568, p. 204.
  4. Leyland, Winston, ed (2002). Out In the Castro: Desire, Promise, Activism, Leyland Publications. ISBN 0943595886, p. 37.