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Watch a video of the Books Inc. event for An Archive of Hope (Part 1)
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Harvey Milk's Political Archive Archival Politics
Charles E. Morris III and Jason Edward Black
In the Images of America memory book, San Francisco's Castro, there appears a photograph depicting three volunteers anchoring the Harvey Milk Archives (HMA) booth at the 1982 Castro Street Fair.1 Fittingly, the photograph was taken by Danny Nicoletta, Harvey Milk's protégé and photographer, who for four decades now has provided invaluable views of GLBTQ (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer)2 life in San Francisco. For those who personally remember, or for those who against the odds have somehow learned some GLBTQ history, the photograph may be haunting, temporally and tragically poised as it is between the immediate past of Milk's 1978 assassination and the unfolding present and future of HIV/AIDS in Ronald Reagan's New Right America. Even so, Milk's signature hope appears richly embodied in the photo's details-his huge smile beaming from a displayed portrait, the "Supervisor Harvey Milk" posters, the stack of Randy Shilts' newly published biography, The Mayor of Castro Street, volunteer Tommy Buxton's laugh implying a joyous carnivalesque occasion, communion, reprieve-suggesting that public memory powerfully affords comfort, community, and politics.
Like those HMA volunteers on Castro Street, we hope in this book to deepen and circulate the public memory of Harvey Milk. During the 1970s, Milk passionately lived as an activist and visionary, community builder, stalwart and savvy campaigner, one of the first openly gay political officials in the United States. And Harvey Milk died with his boots on, a martyr-if not at the moment of his death, as some will quibble, than surely at the pronouncement of the unjust, undoubtedly homophobic, verdict in his assassin's trial. Public memory is fraught, mutable, forceful and consequential, and we believe it can be transformative in the lives of GLBTQ people, everyone. What Harvey Milk bequeaths in the pages that follow is An Archive of Hope.
Remembering Harvey Milk
If you knew and loved Harvey, as so many in San Francisco still did especially in those first years after his death, you likely took heart and pride in those enthusiastic efforts to kindle his legacy. Perhaps you donated money to the HMA that day in 1982 on Castro Street. Or perhaps you participated in one of the many Milk memorial events that had occurred in San Francisco and elsewhere in recent years: traveling aboard the "Gay Freedom Train" en route to "Avenge Harvey Milk!" at the first National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights in October 19793; attending exhibits at the Gay Community Center and Castro Street Fair in 1979; watching photographer Crawford Barton's slide show at the Harvey Milk Gay Democratic Club annual Milk dinner in May 1980; browsing archival materials that accompanied the newly rededicated Harvey Milk/Eureka Valley Library in May 1981; reminiscing at the HMGDC Milk slide show and cocktail party in City Hall that same month; joining devoted throngs in the annual Milk/Moscone Memorial March; standing in line at Randy Shilts' book signings in 1982; celebrating at Harvey's annual birthday party on Castro Street. A bounty of Milk memory!
So much commemoration in those early years of Milk's afterlives, in fact, that you might have thought Frank Robinson, Milk's speechwriter and campaign advisor (named as one of only four potential successors in Milk's political will), unnecessarily concerned when he fretted in the inaugural 1983 issue of The Harvey Milk Archives Newsletter: "I do not know what Harvey's fate would have been if the Harvey Milk Archives had not been established. I am not sure what historians would have done, how they might have edited his speeches, how they might have subtly reshaped the past, how they might have interpreted the man who was the man who might have been."4
Robinson's insightful words should not be misunderstood as sentimental hero worship or hagiography. Archival materials and their consignation matter, always and profoundly, for histories and memories to survive and thrive, especially for those histories and memories that malignant individuals and institutions would readily consign to oblivion, and for those people who struggle for many reasons against manifold constraints to preserve and promulgate the past. Certainly this is true for GLBTQ histories and memories. Heather Love has written,
The queer past has long served a crucial role in the making of queer community. . . . The desires that queers have invested in the past have transformed it. There are, as a result, many queer pasts: Some versions glitter with the collective fantasies of greatness; others have been rubbed smooth by constant handling; some are obscure, having been forgotten or put away; other versions of the past have been rendered ghostly through the weight of accreted longing; and some are covered by shadows, forgotten traces of ways of life that many would rather leave behind.5
There are, we believe, many queer pasts in Harvey Milk, as varied and valuable, as vulnerable, as those pasts Love describes and Robinson cherishes. The Milk archive, in whatever forms it exists and may eventually take, should never be taken for granted.
The extensive, largely behind-the-scenes efforts during the 1980s and 1990s to amass and preserve Harvey Milk's words, images, and ephemera deserve greater visibility. Scott Smith, heir and executor of Milk's estate, who during their years as lovers, business partners, campaigners and confidants had done more than perhaps any other to influence Milk's transformation into the activist he became, devoted himself to cultivating and protecting Milk's legacy. He had help, too, from longtime friends and loyal supporters such as Frank Robinson, Danny Nicoletta, Anne Kronenberg, Jim Gordon, Linda Alband, Terry Henderling, Jim Rivaldo, Dick Pabich, Harry Britt, Denton Smith, Wayne Friday, Walter Caplan, John Wahl, John Ryckman, Alan Baird, Rich Nichols, Tom Randol, and Bob Ross, among others. After Scott Smith died in February 1995, some of those friends and associates contributed, culled, sorted, and inventoried materials in preparation for donation by Elva Smith, Scott's mother, to the San Francisco Public Library (SFPL). Correspondence suggests that negotiations among Elva Smith, co-executor Frank Robinson and the Ad Hoc Milk Archives Committee, and Jim Van Buskirk, Director of the James C. Hormel Gay and Lesbian Center at the SFPL, did not always proceed smoothly. Robinson's Letter to the Editor of the San Francisco Bay Guardian in July 1995 offers a sense of these archival politics: "Political regimes change, so do library personnel, and the intent of the ad hoc group is to make sure that the Archives will be protected for the use and benefit of future generations."6 Nevertheless, The Harvey Milk Archives-Scott Smith Collection was officially donated to the SFPL in 1995, and transferred to the library in 1997.7 It opened to the public in 2003.
Although for us this volume has been an enriching venture in GLBTQ memory work, which we hope readers will share, we should emphasize from the beginning that what we exhibit and narrate here-a substantial sample of transcribed documentary holdings representing Milk's typed, handwritten, recorded, and/or published words-constitutes but a fraction of Milk's public discourse. Many of Milk's public speeches and writings have been lost because they were originally performed extemporaneously or published in outlets now remote; some of that corpus remains extant if as-yet fully extracted in other archives and libraries, such as in microfilm series holdings of GLBTQ periodicals, objects and documents housed at the GLBT Historical Society in San Francisco or the ONE Institute in Los Angeles, or materials in private collections. Despite Milk's presentiments of early death and his poignant foresight to tape record a political will, he evidently was not much concerned with preserving or organizing his own archive for posterity; the state of his effects and affairs might fairly be described as chronically disheveled, casualty of a devotedly engaged public life. We have decided to predominantly feature, with just a handful of exceptions, documentary texts of Milk's public political discourse derived from the Harvey Milk Archives-Scott Smith Collection at SFPL because of the concentration and diversity, history and symbolism of this archival cache. However, we have been keenly aware from the start of this project, and cumulatively so throughout its production, that the Milk materials at the SFPL, invaluable for what they do contribute to Milk and GLBTQ history and memory, are nevertheless incomplete and should and undoubtedly will be beneficially complemented and supplemented in the future.8
It is also the case, as these selected documents evidence, that the traces of Harvey Milk's actual public discourse-scribbled or typed, scratched out, stump recycled, always in motion-bear the marks of having been lived rather than packaged. Milk's words are sometimes fragmentary, typically unpolished, and occasionally banal. At the same time, they always crackle with his energetic engagement. We might usefully think of these addresses, columns, statements, press releases, fliers, and open letters as quotidian translations from a single emergently-public life; a locally situated if nationally aspirant gay street activist, consummate politician, and municipal official; a gay, white, Jewish, able-bodied, financially-strapped-but-middle-class man. These words are embedded in complex, multitudinous, and intersectional contexts that enabled or thwarted Harvey Milk's presence, resonance, meaning, and influence in the 1970s, in the United States, in California, in San Francisco, in District 5, in the Castro. We view such incomplete, tantalizing traces and echoes of distant times and larger stories, both inspirational and workaday texts, as rich public enactments of Milk memory. As importantly, they constitute invitations to conversation, debate, reflection, teaching, learning, collaboration, community building, intergenerational relationships, coalitional and oppositional politics-"how publics are formed in and through cultural archives"9-that inspire performative repertoires10 of GLBTQ pasts that will be queerly reconfigured as the future unpredictably unfolds.
We also have usefully come to realize that some fairly will ask, "Why Harvey Milk?" Not everyone, then or now, considers Milk a pioneer, an icon, as he himself did, remarking to the Associated Press about his election in November, 1977: "I can really appreciate what Jackie Robinson was up against. . . . Every black youth in the country was looking up to him. . . . He was a symbol to all of them. In the same way, I am a symbol of hope to gays and all minorities."11 Immodesty aside, Milk's claim on the GLBTQ pantheon might be rebuffed, or at least cause some bristling, despite his progressive populism and multi-issue advocacy, electoral success, visibility, assassination.12 As some have argued, Milk was, after all, a local politician who served less than a year in municipal office, and we will never know what he might have accomplished politically had he lived.13 Many in San Francisco thought him an arriviste. Drummer editor Jack Fritscher remembered that Milk was not well liked by many because he was "a political carpetbagger, because he was Manhattanizing laid-back San Francisco. He wasn't particularly cool. He was a New Yorker telling 'The City That Knows How' what to do in his 'Milk Forum' column in the Bay Area Reporter."14 Many inside and outside of San Francisco, such as Minnesota activist Stephen Endean, who would go on to direct the Gay Rights National Lobby and founded the Human Rights Campaign Fund, despised "Milk's manner-his ego, his abrasiveness, his insistence on doing things his way-[which] ground on Endean's Midwestern sensibilities, and also probably on his insecurities."15
There are also perspectives that help us account for Milk's legacy in relation to broader cultural and political contexts. Fritscher offers gay immigration, single-issue voting, and assassination as crucial factors: "He was elected because he was gay, not because he was 'Harvey Milk' . . . . Beyond even Harvey's control, he was swept up in a symbolic role in ritual politics. The convergence of his times, not his life, propelled him. His latter-day sainthood came through a martyrdom that could have happened to anyone playing the role of gay supervisor. It was his bad fortune that 'Tonight the role of gay supervisor will be played by Harvey Milk.'"16 Jonathan Bell more generally links historical visibility with place and contingent circumstance, observing that San Francisco's attention is chiefly attributable to "the flamboyance and media-consciousness of its politicians and its importance as a microcosm of the social movements that have come to form the bedrock of the rights revolution of recent times."17 From these vantages, Milk's posthumous renown should be understood as a complex production of his accomplishments, the where and when of his public life, the volume of his persona, his dramatic demise.
These challenges and contextualizations are important, and should shape any engagement with Milk's memory. We believe that they usefully complicate but do not disqualify a claim of Harvey Milk's significance, the value of his assembled words. Arguably what materially matters most in GLBTQ worldmaking, then and now, occurs locally, whatever broader sweep and circulation a figure or place or event might foment or by happenstance occasion in the aftermaths of activism. Most courageous GLBTQ activists since the first stirrings of political consciousness, during the arduous history of transformative acts and soundings, made a difference in particular spaces and sites, communities and forums, even as news of what they did, or they themselves, may have traveled. Milk remarked in 1978, "History is made by events . . . sometimes by large events with the world watching, but mostly by small events which plant the seeds of change. A reading of the Declaration of Independence on the steps of a building is widely covered. The events that started the American Revolution were the meetings in homes, pubs, on street corners."18 Milk's successor on the Board of Supervisors, Harry Britt, came to a similar conclusion about his political fecundity:
History will betray his own sense of who he was if we only remember him as a charismatic genius, a tragic figure wearing the face of a clown, a bigger-than-life model for gay pride. He was all that, of course, but the specialness of Harvey Milk was to be understood in terms of the specialness of San Francisco in the '70s and of the people whose hopes and dreams he was to take upon himself. . . . He could not have been what he was in an earlier period, or in another place. Most specifically, Harvey was a leader whose destiny was the destiny of Castro's Street People, a motley gang of alienated refugees from the struggle to assimilate to the homophobic mainstream of American life.19
Thus a world of difference might be found in those local queer details called Milk, sine qua non, inestimable.
Harvey Milk's words, too, teach us that successful activists speak locally, that the art of activist eloquence should be measured by the singularity of each ordinary persuasive opportunity, quotidian audience, fleeting performance. Milk's purple passages and stump clichΘs teach us that hope's discourse, at close hearing by real people, is by turns and toil both sublime and hackneyed in situ. And with each of those hit-or-miss moments of rhetorical invention and embodiment, with each handshake, with each overbearing exchange, shameless self-promotion, flirtation, corny joke, and lump-in-the-throat moment when he was on a roll, Milk brought the GLBTQ folk of San Francisco that much closer to sexual justice and freedom, to gay rights. Milk campaign staffer Jim Rivaldo remembered, "I accompanied Harvey around the city and saw how readily people from all walks of life responded to an openly gay man with good ideas and an extraordinary gift for communicating them."20
Of course Britt's reminiscence, and he is not alone in this, elevates Milk onto a larger stage. Such hyperbole should not surprise or trouble us, as it is the currency and glue of public memory and social movements, both always replete with the propulsive lore of gods and devils.21 Additionally, close associates of those inscribed into history and memory are often prone to flattering exaggeration. While wanting to avoid the distancing and distortion that comes with hagiography, we nevertheless believe Milk earned his inscription and our attention in GLBTQ history and memory by his contributions to gay rights writ large. Like GLBTQ activism itself during the 1970s, Milk was increasingly emerging on a national stage with expanding influence. During the spectacular historic fluctuations of GLBTQ fortunes during 1977, Milk proved himself a movement leader and subject of national press coverage. Rodger Streitmatter, in spirit if not letter, conveys Milk's growing reputation and influence: "If San Francisco was the capital of Gay America, Harvey Milk was president."22
In a 1978 interview, Boze Hadleigh asked Milk, "as the most visible gay politician, aren't you going to be in demand as a national spokesperson?" His response: "That's starting already. A few groups have asked . . . but I'm so busy as it is, there's no time."23 Nevertheless, during those few last months alive and working, Milk along with tireless and talented activists Sally Miller Gearhart, Gwen Craig, Bill Kraus and so many others, led the successful statewide campaign to defeat Prop 6, called the "Briggs Amendment" after its sponsor, state assemblyman John Briggs, which would ban gay teachers from the California school system. Clendinen and Nagourney explain, "The decisive defeat of the Briggs initiative on November 7  was the greatest electoral victory the gay rights movement in the United States had known. It conferred a particular aura of historical celebrity on Harvey Milk, and at the victory party in San Francisco that night, he called for a gay march on Washington in 1979."24 Assassinated 20 days later, Milk's place in the 1979 March for Lesbian and Gay Rights would be memorial, and thereafter sorting out and celebrating the historical contributions of the sanctified leader would be inevitably enhanced and muddled by the tropes of remembered martyrdom. The Chicago Tribune reported on November 30, 1978: "Milk, the leading avowed homosexual politician in California and perhaps the nation, will be especially missed. . . . 'Harvey Milk's assassination is a terrible blow to the gay-rights movement in this country,' said Robert McQueen, editor of The Advocate, San Francisco's leading gay newspaper. . . . [S]aid Harry Britt, one of Milk's closest friends and aides, 'Harvey Milk was the Martin Luther King of this nation's gay-liberation movement.'"25
Perhaps Ed Jackson was most insightful in capturing Milk's hold on the historical imagination when in his1984 review of Rob Epstein's documentary, he wrote, "The Times of Harvey Milk works powerfully on the viewer because of the Camelot-like resonances it sets off. On one level the story of one man's political career, it is also a morality tale about the dream of justice and the American faith in electoral politics. It traces the evolution of a populist hero who came to embody the hopes of an entire community, a hero tragically cut down in the prime of his political life."26 Whatever the measure, on the street or on the pedestal, we believe Harvey Milk is historically significant, worthy of archiving and anthologizing, deserving of memory, and most importantly, accessible and relevant for cultural and political purposes in which he can prove invigorating and troubling still, and perhaps lifesaving.
Harvey Milk: A Brief Political Genealogy
Given that Harvey Milk's public life did not begin until he was in his 40s, and once begun lasted less than a decade-only ten months, 18 days in office-it is a wonder that we should be bequeathed this archive. Indeed, it is a wonder such a public life began at all. Milk was not what most would consider destined for activism and politics. For most of his adult life Milk lived a quietly privileged domestic existence, passionately and monogamously devoted to his "marriages," his home, the opera and other arts in New York. Though in retrospect some might consider him closeted, which is not quite the case, it is fair to say that Milk's private life was compartmentalized. His professional choices-in the Navy, as a schoolteacher, and for years in the financial world- reflected and no doubt solidified this conservatism. To the extent that he was political at all, as chroniclers like to recall, Milk had proven himself to be a Goldwater Republican. One can imagine those who knew Milk during most of life, those unaware of his sexuality but also his former lover Joe Campbell, doing a double take as he began making headlines in, of all places, San Francisco.27
Milk had made one other dramatic transformation prior to emerging as the "Mayor of Castro Street," and this may make it difficult to fathom Milk as the formidable politician he would become. Owing to the times, a young lover named Jack McKinley, and an experimental theater visionary named Tom O'Horgan (Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Lenny), Milk had become a hippie. As Randy Shilts described it, "Milk found himself surrounded by some of the most outrageous flower children on the continent. Harvey started assimilating the new countercultural values, which spurned materialism, eschewed conformity, and mocked orthodoxy. With each month, Milk's hair became a little longer. With each political argument, his views became more flexible. With each new apartment, he discarded more of the tasteful furniture, stylish dΘcor, and middle-class comforts he had cherished."28 While briefly living in San Francisco in 1970, this Wall Street suit memorably burned his BankAmericard in response to the U.S. invasion of Cambodia. Two years later, with a new boyfriend named Scott Smith, Milk returned to California, flowers in his hair, roaming the state until finally settling for good in 1973 into a transitional neighborhood known by locals as Most Holy Redeemer Parish-what would become known as Castro Village and then, as now, the Castro.
Something queer was happening in San Francisco; indeed, it had been going on for quite some time. Always a haven for outsiders, San Francisco since World War II had become home to a sizeable population of GLBTQ people. Though more familiar for its 1970s blossoming, and overshadowed by mythic Stonewall, San Francisco should be remembered well for its much longer history of GLBTQ lives, cultures, and politics. In the 195os Hal Call formed a chapter of the Mattachine Society, and Del Martin Phyllis Lyon founded the Daughters of Bilitis, making the city a stronghold of homophile outreach. Jose Sarria, a drag institution at The Black Cat, who had tirelessly and resiliently stood up for his harassed, arrested, and beaten brothers, ran for Board of Supervisors in 1961, amassing 7000 votes more than a decade before Milk's audacious first political campaign. Sarria's voice sounded the clarion call of a developing movement comprised of the organizations formed during that decade, including the League for Civil Education, Tavern Guild, Society for Individual Rights, and the Council on Religion and the Homosexual. The protest press conference held by the CRH in response to shameful police disruption of the New Year's Day Ball in 1965, as well as the trans people and other queers who resisted police brutality at Compton's Cafeteria in August 1966, stand alongside Stonewall as transformative events in the burgeoning national movement for GLBTQ liberation, rights, and pride. California establishment politicians were already responding to these grassroots activists in the nascent politics for sexual justice before the New York "birth" of liberation on Christopher Street in 1969.29
What GLBTQ San Francisco had been through the 1960s, though significant, would not have led one to predict the massive influx of immigrants and the expansion of cultures and politics in the subsequent decade.30 John D'Emilio observes, "By the mid-1970s San Francisco had become, compared to the rest of the country, a liberated zone for lesbians and gay men."31 Such growth was enabled by changing economic and demographic landscape of the city. San Francisco's transformation from a manufacturing center into a metropolis of corporate headquarters, tourism and conventions, depleted the population blue-collar straight families in the many ethnic neighborhoods; consequently, it also enticed young professionals who found inexpensive housing in places like the Castro. Development politics were fraught, and the tensions flared throughout the 1970s and beyond, inside and outside GLBTQ communities.32 With San Francisco's development, however, accompanied by a growing reputation for sexual freedom, a GLBTQ homeland blossomed. D'Emilio explains that communities rapidly grew in a number of neighborhoods-Castro, Polk Street, Tenderloin, South of Market, Folsom St., Upper Mission and Bernal Heights-constituting a "new social phenomenon, residential areas that were visibly gay in composition."33
With such visibility came more immigrants, social and sexual networks and spaces, communications, businesses, civic groups, political organizations, movement mobilization and action, public festivals and celebrations. Reporting on the "economic boom" and "political clout" of GLBTQ San Francisco during the 1970s, the Washington Post concluded that it was the "most open of any [homosexual community] in the nation." Frances FitzGerald described the Castro as the "imminent realization" of gay liberation, "the first gay settlement, the first true gay 'community,' and as such it was a laboratory for the movement. It served as a refuge for gay men, and a place where they could remake their lives; now it was to become a model for the new society-'a gay Israel,' as someone once put it." Danny Nicoletta's recollection is equally effusive: "Into the Seventies, people arrived in San Francisco from all over the world with hopes of creating a life characterized by the consciousness attributed to the Sixties communal, holistic, non-violent, mystical, theatrical, and avant-garde. A facet of this idealism for myself and many others was that we were people who were gay searching for a place to be open and honest about this part of our lives-a place without fear of the hatred and persecution which had kept us in closets for so long."34
With such concentration, circulation, capital and confidence, GLBTQ people also developed politically. The San Francisco Chronicle reported on its front page in 1971, "San Francisco's populous homosexual community, historically nonpolitical and inward looking, is in the midst of assembling a potentially powerful political machine."35 With the first gay rights marches, creation of the Alice B. Toklas Memorial Democratic Club, Jim Foster's pathbreaking speech at the Democratic National Convention in 1972, and thriving lesbian-feminist communities, one might readily have believed the Chronicle's hyperbole, which became all the more manifest as the decade unfolded. Jonathan Bell's incisive analysis demonstrates that a broader confluence of contextual elements in California politics dating back more than a decade enabled such queer auspiciousness. From Bell's perspective, left liberalism guided a generation of influential and ascending politicians who fused economic and civil rights in a progressive vision of inclusion; politicians who were influenced by and collaborated with grassroots activists and who helped create the conditions under which such disenfranchised groups could make gains through electoral politics. This is not to say that Willie Brown, George Moscone, Phil Burton, Dianne Feinstein, Richard Hongisto, and other key political players of the era were unfettered champions of or exclusively responsible for gay rights, as Harvey Milk's critiques of superficial campaign courtship and battles with "the Machine" would later demonstrate. However, this analysis does help explain the conditions of possibility, "the distinctive contours of political life in San Francisco in the 1970s," within and through which Milk could emerge, mature, and ultimately succeed as a gay rights and community activist with a populist vision articulated through the discourses of economic justice, individual rights, political power, solidarity and coalition.36
But of course it was not only because San Francisco existed as the "political base" and "spiritual home of California liberalism" that GLBTQ people flourished.37 The intensifying, intensely satisfying, and interanimating dimensions of cultures and politics forged identification and identity, cultivated affective and emotional bonds, deepened communities, fomented movement, and resulted in the sexual embodiment of freedom. Especially for gay men such freedom was made all the more available and fluid by proliferating and booming bars, bathhouses, and clubs. With such growth came inevitable tensions, and there have been critiques, for example, of the gay male sexual culture.38 However, sociologist Elizabeth Armstrong argues persuasively that those committed to gay rights (interest group politics and legal protections), gay pride (cultural identity and visibility), and sexual pleasure (its enactment and commercialization) created a synergistic movement of "unity through diversity."39 Armstrong observes that, "The political logic of identity made it possible to reconcile pride, rights, and sexual expression,"40 despite differences among and the uniqueness of individuals, that solidified in economic power, political influence, and a sense of the collective instantiated through pleasure.
Significant, too, is the still broader context of national culture and politics, as well as the larger gay rights movement. Bruce Schulman writes in The Seventies, "[T]he emphasis on diversity, on cultural autonomy and difference, echoed throughout 1970s America. White ethnics picked it up, as did feminists and gay rights advocates and even the elderly. A new conception of the public arena emerged."41 Contrary to narratives about cultural reversals and moribund activism, Dominic Sandbrook argues, "For all the efforts of the religious right and for all the talk of backlash against the legacy of the sixties, the fact remains that in moral and cultural terms, American society became steadily more permissive. More marriages broke up, more pregnancies were terminated, more children were born out of wedlock, and more gays and lesbians came out. In this respect at least, liberalism not only survived the 1970s but emerged triumphant."42 Moreover, GLBTQ activism in particular should be understood as not only a legacy of the "long sixties" but as a distinctive influence on U.S. culture. Schulman goes so far as to conclude that, "The gay rights movement transformed Americans' understanding of homosexuality, and of masculinity in general"; elsewhere he wrote, "Looking back . . . it is clear that the grassroots struggles for racial justice and sexual equality have exerted a more thoroughgoing impact than the liberal political economy of the Great Society."43
Such superlative assessments are warranted by hard-earned achievements of GLBTQ people and organizations, and the widening visibility that came with them. The often-cited Time cover story, "Gays on the March," from September 1975 remarked on the transformation:
There are now more than 800 gay groups in the U.S., most of them pressing for state or local reforms. The Advocate, a largely political biweekly tabloid for gays, has a nationwide circulation of 60,000, and the National Gay Task Force has a membership of 2,200. . . . Since homosexuals began to organize for political action six years ago, they have achieved a substantial number of victories. Eleven state legislatures have followed Illinois in repealing their anti-sodomy laws. The American Psychiatric Association has stopped listing homosexuality as a psychiatric disorder, and ATT, several other big corporations and the Civil Service Commission have announced their willingness to hire openly avowed gays.44
Little wonder, then, that even as the movement shifted from the brief revolution of gay liberation to the mainstay of gay rights reform (growing in numbers while contracting its agenda to single-issue politics). Like other GLBTQ people, John D'Emilio, himself both chronicler and activist, rode high on the collective effervescence: "The goals of activists had narrowed, yet activists in the mid-1970s almost uniformly displayed an Θlan that made them feel as if they were mounting the barricades. Activists increasingly engaged in routinized and mundane organizational tasks, yet they believed they were remaking the world."45
Harvey Milk emerged from within these layered political and cultural contexts, reflecting them but also, improbably, harnessing their energies and promises into a unique activist vision that would help define the rest of decade, locally and nationally, as an epoch in GLBTQ history. Of course, Milk did not commence his political career as the leader he would become. He began it quite sparsely and unremarkably in the spring of 1973 in his newly opened Castro Camera at 575 Castro Street. The always threadbare business, which kept Milk in the financial straits to which he had not been accustomed during his earlier life, seems destined to the storied political front and headquarters it became. The real work of Castro Camera and its regulars focused not on rolls of film but on people, their freedoms, struggles, and neighborhoods in San Francisco.
Although Milk's deeper political inclinations may be attributable, by his own accounting, to the 1943 Jewish uprising in the Warsaw ghetto and his 1947 arrest as a teenager in Central Park for "indecent exposure," Milk often identified three moral shocks46 in 1973 as effecting his awakening, and sparking his first campaign for Board of Supervisors, the 11-member body representing San Francisco's consolidated city-county government. First, shortly after Castro Camera opened Milk had a heated altercation with a local bureaucrat who demanded a $100 deposit against sales tax in order for the business to operate, which seemed to him an outrageous violation of free enterprise and symptom of class inequity. Second, Milk blanched at the disparity between haves and have-nots in this "developing" city, disparity which appeared proximately in the form of a young teacher from a resource-strapped school asking if she could borrow a slide projector to teach her lessons. Finally, Milk had a visceral response to Attorney General John Mitchell's mendacious and evasive testimony during the Watergate Hearings, which he watched animatedly on a portable TV in the shop. Shortly thereafter, standing on a crate inscribed with the word "soap," Milk launched his first candidacy.47
A more auspicious political debut, short of winning, is hard to imagine. Perhaps especially so given the long odds Harvey Milk faced as an unknown newcomer, both to the city and to politics, with the wrong look and surprisingly fierce opposition. For starters, there was that ponytail few could ignore, the signature symbol of his troubling hippie persona. Milk was also openly and unabashedly gay, which, needless to say, for an at-large candidate in a citywide election battling five incumbents, made for a political liability.48 We should recall and underscore how few GLBTQ candidates preceded Milk on any ballot in the United States, so few in fact, and with decidedly less candor and bravado, that it is not surprising (mythmaking notwithstanding) that he is often mistakenly celebrated as the first.
What may come as a surprise, however, is that Milk's gay problem mostly concerned GLBTQ people themselves, or as Brett Callis observes, "his candidacy was itself a major issue for gays in 1973."49 There was much passionate dispute in the GLBTQ press, social spaces, and political meetings, about how GLBTQ politics should proceed into or against the mainstream. Should the approach be accommodationist or radical? Should GLBTQ people enter politics to gain power or rely on the stewardship and largesse of straight allies? Should candidates make sexuality their defining marker or should their ideology and platform take primacy over the fact that they happen to be gay? What might public engagement mean in relation to a politics of respectability? Should candidates be single-issue focused on gay rights or be committed to a broad set of issues?
From the beginning of his campaign, Milk was adversely targeted by the gay political establishment-SIR and the Toklas Club-whose key players and gatekeepers, by and large, had their own scars and believed in an accommodationist and gradualist approach to gay rights gained through loyal support of elected straight liberal allies, what Milk derisively would later call the "gay groupie syndrome."50 Michael Wong, a young, heterosexual, Chinese-American who in launching his own political career courted counsel and support of prominent members of the Toklas Club, captured well in his diary this attempted fratricide by powerful members of the gay establishment: "Gary Miller told me that Harvey Milk was 'dangerous and uncontrollable.' Duke Smith said that Harvey Milk was 'high on something.' Rick Stokes told me that Milk 'had no support in [the] Gay Community . . . he's running all on his own.' Jo Daly told me, 'maybe if we just ignored him, he'll go away.' Jim Foster said that 'it would be disastrous for the gay community if Harvey Milk ever received credibility.' I couldn't have agreed with them more."51 Heeding such advice, Wong helped to block endorsements for Milk with San Francisco Young Democrats and San Francisco Tomorrow. Foster in particular, perhaps the most visible and influential gay establishment politician in San Francisco, openly opposed Milk until the bitter end, even after Milk had won over the Bay Area Reporter, SIR leader and Vector editor William Beardemphl, other publications and a critical mass of GLBTQ voters.52
The intensity of the vitriol by Milk's political enemies within the GLBTQ community suggests that they saw in him something more than an upstart of questionable motives and dubious emotional stability. Wong wrote privately what insiders would not admit, "No candidate came close to his dynamic delivery. . . . He stole the show. . . . [E]verywhere he spoke, people were drawn to him. He was not slick and people related to him. He was causing the Toklas Club great concerns."53 Moreover, Shilts astutely observed, "The disparity between Milk's image and his reality stemmed from the essential act with which he defined himself-rebellion. The campaign biography that emerged from his early media interviews reads like the blueprint for a maverick."54
And a queer, barnstorming, populist maverick he was. Milk's broad platform focused on a wide range of issues that prioritized San Francisco residents over the city's corporate and Chamber of Commerce interests. As the selected documents from 1973 reveal, Milk envisioned San Francisco as a city that would take its place among other great metropolises not for its bankbook or universities but for its populace, "a city that breathes, one that is alive and where the people are more important than the highways." Instead of downtown development and growth of the tourism industry, for Milk San Francisco's future depended on reducing wasteful and unfair governmental spending and taxation, promoting childcare centers and dental care for the elderly, eliminating poverty and addressing the unemployment rate by teaching skills and providing economic opportunities. Instead of fringe benefits for MUNI (San Francisco Municipal Railway) drivers, Milk advocated better service for MUNI riders which would be achieved in part by mandating that city officials ride MUNI to work, and preventing congestion by reducing downtown parking garages. Instead of police harassment and arrests for marijuana possession, prostitution, and gay public sex, what he called "legislating morality" against "victimless crimes," Milk demanded improved police protection against rape, murder, and mugging, which would be achieved if policemen actually lived in the city they patrolled, and patrolled in greater numbers. As he argued in his September 1973 address to the Joint International Longshoremen Warehousemen's Union and Lafayette Club, "It takes no compromising to give the people their rights . . . it takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove repression." From promoting street arts and community art centers, to advocating for beer drivers' Local 888, to the district elections (Proposition K) he championed, Milk imagined the end of disenfranchisement and discrimination, better quality of life, and resurgence of democracy for all.
That Milk had indeed made a statement during the campaign is evidenced by the nearly 17,000 votes he garnered, finishing tenth in a field of thirty-two candidates. More heartening still, Milk realized that had there been district elections, voters in San Francisco's GLBTQ neighborhoods, despite the Toklas Club's opposition, would have delivered him to City Hall. SIR official and editor William Beardemphl presciently observed in his Bay Area Reporter "Comments" column that, "Above and beyond his race for Supervisor, Harvey Milk IS opening the door to government a little wider so that all homosexuals of ability can enter politics without a destructive homosexual stigmata imposed on them."55 Milk appears to have been emboldened by the experience and results, for he almost immediately cast his sights on the 1975 campaign, and during the interim would become an even more dedicated and visible community and gay rights activist. During this period Milk's political vision solidified and public voice amplified more prominently as he launched biweekly columns for the Sentinel ("Waves from the Left," February to September 1974) and Bay Area Reporter ("Milk Forum," May 1974 until the week of his death, November 1978), and regularly took to the streets in protest against homophobic discrimination, harassment, and violence, or in celebration of and communion with his GLBTQ neighbors, friends, and allies.
During 1974 and 1975, Milk continued his broad-based populism, but he also unmistakably sought to mobilize his own community toward seizing and consolidating its power through strength in numbers, solidarity, votes, and economic influence. In his effort at consciousness-raising, Milk implored GLBTQ people that "the only important issue for homosexuals is Freedom. All else is meaningless. . . . Many people think that they are FREE because they have a lot of money and live in 'good' neighborhoods. But the homosexual is not free until there are NO laws on ANY books suppressing him and not until he, if he so wishes, can join the police force or any government agency as an open homosexual. It is as simple as that."56 In his Vector editorial, among the selected documents, Milk invoked Martin Luther King, Jr. and memories of the Montgomery bus boycott to punctuate his call for "full citizenship" and struggle against homophobia: "the homosexual community is the last minority group that has received no civil rights." "In order for homosexuals to win our right to self respect and equality," Milk wrote, "we must first assert our full existence and then its strength."
Once awakened, according to Milk's political calculus, GLBTQ people must act collectively to concentrate and strategically wield their power, which he theorized in economic, political, and communal terms. Milk's "Waves from the Left" column in the Sentinel on "Political Power," included in this volume, emphasized that change only comes through the exercise of material influence. That power begins with registering to vote, which is why Milk appropriated diverse occasions for that purpose, and enlisted as many volunteers as he could muster (always recruiting) to help with drives (2,000 new voters for the 1974 gubernatorial election and many more for his own campaign in 1975). For those registered, Milk urged that political power works best in withholding votes until a sense of urgency among "friendly" candidates leverages sturdier pledges rather than automatically or prematurely offering votes for the price of a trivial campaign courting appearance.57 Milk lashed out at his gay establishment nemeses for being what he called, in the selected editorial of the same name, "Aunt Marys," the equivalent of Uncle Toms, who sold out by toadying to straight liberal politicians who forgot their GLBTQ constituents once elected. Then GLBTQ voters should cast their ballots as a bloc, the sheer size of which would likely determine the outcomes of elections, making the community's presence unmistakable and influence palpable and in turn, quid pro quo, desirable capital. During 1974, Milk also began his practice of publishing endorsements, and disqualifications, with detailed political analysis specific to communal interests. Milk declared, "Every person in this state owes it not only to himself, but for all gay people who will follow us years from now to vote for freedom."58
Secondly, Milk insisted that "Economic power is stronger than any other form of power. . . . There is tremendous amount of economic power and strength in the San Francisco gay community. It has never been effectively brought together. It looks as if it will now happen."59 Milk's optimism stemmed from those existing and emerging associations-Gay Chamber of Commerce, Gay Community Guild, Tavern Guild, and Golden Gate Business Association-he supported, and the Castro Village Association he founded, which welcomed 5,000 for its first Castro Street Fair in August 1974 (25,000 in 1975, 100,000 in 1976).60
Thirdly, Milk advocated the power of solidarity and coalition. He argued that GLBTQ people and politicians must eradicate the endemic jealously and infighting, otherwise such divisions amounted to complicity in their own oppression. In the Bay Area Reporter Milk averred, "The day we can pick up a gay paper and not find any attacks on other gays, the movement will start to unite. It can never have full power as long as one person, for whatever reasons, attacks others in the movement. . . . to go after another gay person for their doing their trip in the movement, is to attack the entire movement."61 He convened a task force to explore paths to unification. Milk also urged the support of the Teamsters in the Coors Boycott as well as other unions, reasoning that "If we in the gay community want others to help us in our fight to end discrimination, we must help others in their fights."62 About the neighborhood baseball challenge between the "gay all stars" and "champs of the local Twilight League," Milk effused, "Just the playing of the game did more to bring relations between the community than any other event, act, speech, law . . . . That game was a victory for better relationships between the straight youths and the gays."63
Beyond this communal power vision, Milk also became bolder in his confrontation with individuals and institutions harming GLBTQ people and other San Franciscans. Milk lambasted the city government for giving taxpaying members of the Gay Freedom Day Committee the "run-a-round" regarding permits and parade routes (but not other similar groups),64 and, in his Open Letter included in the volume, chided the San Francisco Chronicle for sensationalizing gay pride without sensitivity to the plight of GLBTQ people. He openly opposed political candidates like John Foran and Dianne Feinstein for their absent or phony solidarity, and ridiculed the Board of Supervisors for its failures, hypocrisy, and fawning compliance with downtown interests. "The time has come," he insisted, "Either the Board and the city agencies give to the gay community what any other group can get or don't come around courting our votes."65 He unremittingly indicted police brutality and harassment, which he likened to Nazi oppression of the Jews, exemplified in his published and street protests of the Labor Day beatings at Toad Hall bar and subsequent jailing of the "Castro 14." In the face of such homophobic discrimination and violence, and bringing together all the elements of his platform, Milk called for economic and political mobilization.66
During the first campaign in 1973 Milk began telling reporters that some were calling him the "unofficial mayor of Castro Street," a clever moniker. His words and actions during 1974-1975 suggest that he may have perceived himself, and perhaps was beginning to be perceived by friends and enemies alike, as the unofficial, emergent leader of a (new) GLBTQ power movement.67 Milk reflected in a New York Times interview, "I'm a left-winger, a street person. . . . Most gays are politically conservative, you know, banks, insurance, bureaucrats. So their checkbooks are out of the closet, but they're not. So you try to get something going, and all the gay money is still supporting Republicans except on this gayness thing, so I say, 'Gay for Gay.' That's my issue. That's it. That's the big one."68 It is worth noting that Milk's candidacy operated within a state and local political culture that connected economic justice, rights discourse, and identity politics. Bell explains, "From the perspective of liberal politicians experimenting with a reconfiguration of the relationship between the individual and society it was inevitable that discussions of social marginalization in the 1950s and beyond would allow a widening of the left-of-center political lexicon that could be responsive to homophile activism. One of Harvey Milk's early successes as a leading gay activist in the Castro in 1973 [sic] was to help the Teamsters extend a boycott of Coors beer into the gay bars, linking gay rights to economic issues."69
However, Milk suggests in his Sentinel column "Where I Stand," among the selected documents, that any exclusive political categorization is a foolhardy venture, doomed to being inaccurate or incomplete. Note, for instance, pollster Mervin Field's analysis in Time in which he commented on the two tides of the 1975 election: "One is the ebbing tide of traditional liberal, labor and cultural concepts-the idea that government can do it for you. Against this is the rising tide of the 'new conservatism'-which is related to fear about crime, the inability to get services from government, and fiscal responsibility."70 The Harvey Milk of his second campaign, perhaps paradoxically, passionately espoused positions consonant with both tides Field identified.71 The ponytail shorn, replaced by a second-hand, two-piece suit, Milk's hippie persona yielded to a clean-shaven one no less down to earth and outspoken but with broader visual and thus political appeal. Shilts reported that, "Milk's appearance and demeanor became so devastatingly average that he sometimes had to fend off allegations that he was actually heterosexual. 'If I were . . . there sure would be a lot of surprised men walking around San Francisco.'"72
Although Milk's second campaign has received comparatively scant attention, its significance should be understood in relation to the political traction he was gaining, the progressive muckraking he was advocating, and the gay rights agenda his visibility was advancing. The Bay Area Reporter's preview of Milk's campaign reveals the extent to which his vision had retained a balance and connectedness between GLBTQ concerns and those of all San Franciscans: "Milk's four-point program calls for a 'Fair Share' tax for those who work in The City but don't live here, for taxis and buses to be equipped so they can report crimes-in-progress directly to Police headquarters, for the Fire Department to be supplied with the most modern equipment available, and for 'the Board's present sense of priorities to be reoriented to the people and not to downtown interests.'"73 Indeed, his "Milk Forum" columns throughout 1975 not only reiterated the GLBTQ power blueprint he had been articulating but addressed a broad range of local issues, including national and city economic conditions, MUNI deficiencies, Yerba Buena development, property tax assessments and housing, bail bondsmen, the Coors boycott (again), the police strike.
Of course, his gay rights advocacy continued apace during the 1975 campaign. In his "Milk Forum" columns he railed against City Hall for not providing funds for the Gay Freedom Day Committee while doing so for others, and decried the lack of media coverage of an event with more than 80,000 participants and spectators; he reminded his readers of the value of holding their vote pledges so as to get the most from their political "friends"; he urged a continuation of the GLBTQ Coors boycott even after the national Teamsters eliminated the local chapter's effort; he called for lobbying in support of AB489 and AB633, the consenting sex and fair employment legislation pending in the California Assembly.
Significant, too, about the 1975 election is that candidates, especially for the mayoralty, courted votes and endorsements from the GLBTQ community as never before. Perhaps because of Milk's trenchant critiques of the "gay groupie syndrome" and his passionate call for GLBTQ political power through decisive voting blocs, campaign hopefuls became increasingly attentive. How remarkable it must have been to read in the Los Angeles Times Supervisor John L. Molinari proclaiming, "The gay vote is a key element for any elected official in San Francisco."74 Or to see mayoral candidate Dianne Feinstein chanting for the gay men's softball team against rival police department at their fourth annual game; or to hear that Feinstein had hosted and presided over the lesbian wedding of Human Rights Committee liaison Jo Daly and her partner. Or to finally witness the passage of the state law legalizing sex between consenting adults, thus defeating sodomy's long criminalization, thanks largely to state senate majority leader and mayoral candidate George Moscone and his ally Willie Brown. Moscone's conservative opponent in the runoff that December learned the hard way that you ignored or maligned "you people," a term he used in a well-publicized meeting, at your political peril. Moscone publicly thanked Harvey Milk in his acceptance speech.75
Though Milk was not victorious, he finished seventh behind six incumbents out of twenty-nine candidate field, despite renewed opposition from gay establishment politicos, with 52,649 votes, strongly supported from the Castro (where he garnered 60-70%) to Haight-Ashbury and Pacific Heights.76 Jim Rivaldo, who along with Frank Robinson and Danny Nicoletta had joined Milk that year, proclaimed in light of the prescient color-coded map at Castro Camera, "We got the hippie, McGovern, and fruit voters."77 Milk described the GLBTQ presence in this campaign season as having achieved "unprecedented political influence."78 Despite the defeat, Milk had arrived. As Clendinen and Nagourney observe, "No one considered him a fluke anymore. He was part of a phenomenon, the sheer accumulation of gay influence in the city. . . . The boldest, most visible new element of that voting population was in the Castro, and by the end of 1975, Harvey Milk was clearly its voice-and the most public gay figure in the city."79
Were further proof needed of Milk's new political capital, it came in Mayor Moscone's appointment of him to the significant Board of Permit Appeals. (It had not hurt, of course, that Milk had publicly offered his unsolicited support to candidate Moscone in the run-off mayoral election against Supervisor John Barbagelata). Openly gay Commissioner Milk: a first in U.S. politics. As his friends and allies remembered, it certainly had a ring to it. Moscone called Milk "a pioneer." Even better, he said Milk wouldn't be a pioneer for long-the Bay Area Reporter headline read: "Moscone: Milk Appointment Is Just the Beginning."80 The GLBTQ promise of the Moscone Administration was deepened by the appointment of Charles Gain as the first chief of police to publicly avow support for out cops on the force (for which Milk had been clamoring), as well as the election of District Attorney Joe Freitas, who pledged to end prosecutions for victimless crimes.81 In "Milk Forum" he gushed, "[T]he gay community now has a mayor-for the first time ever!-who is not only understanding of our particular problems, but who wants to correct the inequalities."82
Ever the maverick, however, Milk served the shortest recorded term on the Permit Appeals Board; the Moscone dreams quickly soured. Milk had gotten wind of a purported deal among a number of state and national politicians, including Moscone, California Assembly Speaker Leo McCarthy, Congressmen Phil Burton and his brother John, Assemblymen John Foran and Willie Brown. It was a multi-move, multi-level political orchestration that would mend rifts and solidify the new Democratic regime in California, with implications for the U.S. Congress. The last person in this political pact: Art Agnos, a McCarthy aide, who would be the heir apparent of the 16th Assembly District-Milk's District. Board of Supervisors president Quentin Kopp memorably called this political arrangement an "Unholy Alliance."83 That Mayor Moscone had dismissed Milk from the Board of Permit Appeals on the grounds that one could not hold such a position while campaigning-when he himself had done so a number of times-heightened the stench for some. In the Bay Guardian article entitled, "Ganging Up on Harvey Milk," Bruce Brugmann and Jerry Roberts railed against what they described as "a naked, unabashed power play. . . . The hypocrises abound."84
True to political character, Milk was outraged by the machinations. As he said in his declaration of candidacy, among the selected 1976 documents: "I think representatives should be elected by the people-not appointed. I think a representative should earn his or her seat-I don't think the seat should be awarded on the basis of service to the machine." Given the math-what that impressive map indicated about voting patterns in Milk's campaigns, the 1974 vote total in the 16th District for John Foran, and the fact that Art Agnos was a political unknown-Milk's prospects for success appeared strong. "Milk vs. The Machine": the slogan derived from media that fanned Milk's audacious challenge. This crusade seemed very much in keeping the vision Milk had championed since 1973. He wrote on his 1976 "Declaration of Candidacy" application: "My candidacy gives you a choice. Machine politics or an independent voice? . . . A Machine doesn't serve people, it rewards only people who slave it. I will fight to prevent San Francisco from becoming a Chicago politically."85
Perhaps it is too obvious to call Milk's Assembly campaign a transitional moment, given the requisite performance on the larger stage and greater complexities of California state politics. The transition we have in mind here, however, is toward a national political arena, one that made possible his deft leadership in engaging and exploiting the more familiar homophobic national spectacle of 1977. Although Milk had always commented on issues of national concern, in 1976 his commentaries on the impact of the Coors boycott, the Supreme Court's homophobia,86 Nixon's legacy, the presidential primary election, California's Nuclear Initiative, Angola, the failed revolutionary legacy of 1776, Bob Dole, and of course on GLBTQ lives and the gay rights movement all seem to suggest an ever-expanding political vision. After his own race had ended in June, Milk focused much attention on the presidential race. A picture of Milk shaking hands with Jimmy Carter appeared in the Bay Area Reporter, and his endorsement of Carter, announced in the selected document, "'Uncertainty' of Carter or the 'Certainty' of Ford," was enthusiastic despite Carter's discomfort and ambivalence regarding the GLBTQ community. (Milk would later challenge President Carter to address the human rights of GLBTQ people, and encouraged a writing campaign to lobby the White House.) Milk counseled his readers and supporters to learn lessons from the African American community by exercising their voting power in the election, by voting as a bloc for Carter and other candidates sympathetic to gay rights.87
At the same time, that broader vista only held meaning in relation to the communities in which one lived, the people for whom one strived and struggled politically. Milk's hero, as he wrote in the column included in this volume, "My Concept of a Legislator," was Harry Truman, who "never developed contempt for the common man, perhaps because he had personally waited on so many of them in his Kansas City clothing store. Once in public office, he never patronized his constituents, perhaps because he never forgot the time when he had to file bankruptcy. The people who supported Truman were those who had to sweat for their daily bread, many who may not have been as articulate as others with their tongues, but were loving in their hearts, those who instinctively recognized that no person is born to greatness, but many people rise to it." His political vision and platform clearly had not changed, and he approached the campaign against the Machine as he had the others, by tirelessly attending every meeting possible, shaking hands and conversing, by building bridges among those who shared stakes in the Sixteenth District. Frank Robinson remembered, "Everything could be going against him, but he would come back to the headquarters jubilant because he has persuaded one old lady to vote for him. . . . It was as if every person he won over represented an important victory. . . . Those moments meant more to him than anything in the world."88
Throughout the campaign, and even into the first hours of the election returns, there was cause for hope. Hope: the theme which would come to define Milk's legacy had emerged during the 1976 campaign in part because Art Agnos told him after one of their countless tandem events that his stump speech was too dour. Perhaps this time Milk underestimated his opponent, who was backed by every prominent politician at the state and local level (including at the 11th hour Gov. Jerry Brown, who had sworn neutrality), and endorsed by the very press (such as the Bay Guardian) that had encouraged Milk and castigated the Machine. The gay establishment of course actively supported Agnos; that low moment when they imported openly lesbian Massachusetts state representative Elaine Noble to endorse Agnos (to throw her weight against Milk, whom she never met) must have stung deeply. Some openly accused Milk himself of being involved in a political deal with the Machine, which he bitterly denounced as a smear campaign. Moreover, Milk may have strategically overestimated his support among Castro voters, spending more time emphasizing non-gay rights issues while Art Agnos highlighted his solidarity with the GLBTQ community. The full page Agnos campaign ad in the Bay Area Reporter a week before the election packed a punch, however inaccurate: "'Who is really upfront for Gay rights no matter who the audience is?' . . . If Harvey Milk won't speak out for gay rights at the Labor Council in S.F., what will he do in Sacramento?" It has been suggested that the 35% of the votes Agnos received in the high turn-out Castro (Milk garnered 62%), compared to the lower turn-out minority neighborhoods where Milk fared worse than he had planned and concentrated, arguably made the difference in the election. The toll was also personal, including the disintegration of his relationship with Scott Smith, and the death threats which resonated with his longstanding foreboding about an early demise.89
Against those long odds, Milk only lost by 3630 votes of 32,000 cast, though the triumphalism of his enemies writing his political obituary must have only deepened the exhaustion of his third campaign-two in two years-and third defeat. Had he squandered his chance for election to the Board of Supervisors in 1977 as he had his appointment to the Board of Permit Appeals, because of his political willfulness? Were those pundits correct who suggested the margin of Milk's loss meant that the gay establishment could no longer deliver the vote, thus paving the way for a run in 1977? Was the most significant, and dramatic, act of Milk's operatic political career yet to come?
One can imagine Milk losing faith in Hope. In addition to the precariousness of his political future, Milk now sought change amid shifting, worsening political contexts in California and nationally, with obvious impact at home. Cultural anxieties in California were running high, despite new governor Jerry Brown's "big thinking": "Beneath the glamour of California life, the undercurrent of anxiety had rarely run harder and faster than in the mid-1970s. With the economy in recession, jobless rates stood at almost 10 percent, and the state was coming under growing pressure to raise taxes and slash services. Factories and employers were heading south, their tanks and theaters were closing, and people were increasingly moving out of the big cities."90 Was there glumness in Milk's interview with the San Francisco State University student paper, Zenger's? "I'm deeply in debt, my store's deeply in debt. It's a struggle to get out. . . . I just took my stand and lost, unlike other politicians who get involved just to fill their egos and their pockets. But I knew the consequences of running, but it's vital that someone raises the questions. Such as, why is there crime? Not how to stop it by using more police. Why is there unemployment and why has industry been driven out of town?"91
More ominously, evangelical and social conservatives, alarmed by what they perceived as widespread moral deterioration in a climate of tolerance and permissiveness precipitating a crisis in the American family, began in earnest to mobilize a movement that would hit full stride after Ronald Reagan's election in 1980. Paul Boyer explained, "In this decade, the nation's evangelical subculture emerged from self-imposed isolation to become a powerful force in mainstream culture and politics. . . . When Newsweek magazine proclaimed 1976 as 'The Year of the Evangelical,' the editors underscored a phenomenon that was well under way."92 As Bruce Schulman put it, "Thunder was gathering on the right." Worse yet, its lightening, prayers being answered, should smite GLBTQ people. "In the rhetoric of the New Right, feminists were second only to homosexuals in the list of villains threatening the American family," according to Dominic Sandbrook. "If there was one threat that particularly disturbed preachers, it was homosexuality."93 Texas televangelist James Robison's battle cry of 1980 could be found forming in the throats of the devout half a decade earlier: "I'm sick and tired of hearing about all of the radicals, and the perverts, and the liberals, and the leftists, and the communists coming out of the closet. It's time for God's people to come out of the closet, out of our churches, and change America."94 And so they did.
The year 1977 proved to be one of the most important in GLBTQ history to date, the best and worst of times, though its memory has been overshadowed by Stonewall, and by the tragic events of 1978. The year began with such promise. The long-sought district elections had finally been won the previous November, changing the landscape of municipal politics and quite likely the political fortunes of Harvey Milk, as that color-coded map had long predicted. In his first "Milk Forum" column for the new year, he touted Carter's presidency and district elections as "changes of influence . . . . . changes in priorities" that meant good news for GLBTQ people.95 A gay rights ordinance protecting against homophobic discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations had just passed in Dade County, Florida, a noteworthy civil rights victory in what would become a series of such advancements over the course of the year, in unlikely bastions such as St. Paul, Wichita, Iowa City, Champaign-Urbana, Aspen, and Eugene. A number of states were considering similar legislation. Wyoming became the 19th state to legalize sex between consenting adults of either gender. Shilts described the "year of the gay": "The year, it seemed, surely would show that the gay movement had reached the juggernaut status; nothing could stop this idea whose time had come."96
Ironically, the year would be consequential for the movement because an evangelical pop singer and sunny endorser of Florida orange juice named Anita Bryant thwarted the gay rights juggernaut in a Manichean showdown. Bryant's wholesome persona, Donna Reed looks, mellifluous voice, conservative values and devout faith-embodiments of what we now know familiarly as family values rhetoric-made her a powerful spokesperson for a homophobic campaign to repeal the Dade County gay rights ordinance that in its own right threatened to become a national juggernaut and a harbinger of the New Right. Calling itself "Save Our Children," the repeal effort trafficked in the invidious and intoxicating fear appeals regarding homosexual "recruitment." As Bryant, in a characteristic harangue, charged, "What these people really want, hidden behind obscure legal phrases, is the legal right to propose to our children that there is an acceptable alternate way of life. . . . No one has a human right to corrupt our children. Prostitutes, pimps, and drug pushers, like homosexuals, have civil rights, too, but they do not have the right to influence our children to choose their way of life." Bigotry never sounded so sweet. It took no time at all to gather the required signatures (plus 50,000 more in addition) to secure a special election in June of 1977 that would become known as "Orange Tuesday." Gay rights operatives from both coasts took their stand on the battleground of Miami. But their rational arguments proved to be no match for commercials featuring provocative images from the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day parade, and the refrain of children in peril accompanied occasionally by Bryant's rousing version of "Battle Hymn of the Republic" (and her labeling of gay people as "human garbage").97
Harvey Milk brilliantly rose to the challenges of this shameful episode in U.S history (though children are not taught this blight in schools). For months prior to the vote in Dade County, Milk used "Milk Forum" as a bully pulpit to mobilize against Anita Bryant, calling for a boycott of Florida orange juice, her firing, and an indictment against her for "inciting violence against Gay people." He chided those who did not take her seriously, who were apathetic about participating in the boycott, and he excoriated the National Gay Task Force which defended her right to free speech. In response, he exclaimed, "Well, what about the rights of all those people who are fire-bombed because they are Gay? What about the rights of all who are, and will be, discriminated against because they are Gay? What about the rights of all who become victim's of Anita Bryant's preaching? What about the rights of Ovidio Ramos? Where is our great NGTF when it comes to Gay people who are beaten and lose their jobs?"98 Milk linked Bryant's hate speech to recent public discourse by Supervisor Feinstein Assistant District Attorney Douglas Munson in San Francisco that homophobically associated the "crime wave" with public sex spaces in their effort to relocate such businesses to a dilapidated section of the city.99
On June 7, the repeal passed with nearly 70% of the vote. Milk had not been enlisted by the gay establishment for the fight on the ground in Florida, but unlike more "respectable" representatives he became the de facto leader of the throngs of GLBTQ and allied people in the Bay Area who reacted to the repeal. Arguably, Milk was now a national leader of the gay rights movement. As in cities around the country, thousands took to the streets of San Francisco on Orange Tuesday and every night for the better part of week thereafter, during which Milk presence towered. That first night is best remembered because Milk transformed the massive demonstration that threatened to turn violent ("Out of the Bars and into the Streets!") into a five-mile peaceable march throughout the city, culminating in a rally of 5,000 at the steps of City Hall; the front-page Chronicle photograph of Milk with his familiar bullhorn captured well the spirit and achievement of the massive demonstration and its leadership. Clendinen and Nagourney observed, "[T]he midnight march was wholly a product of the city's new gay population, one angry and aroused, with its own neighborhood, its own distinct cultural values, its own community organizations and leaders, and its own way of reacting to events. Anita Bryant's victory had helped bring them into focus. As a large red banner emblazoned with the words 'Gay Revolution' was run up the flagpole on Union Square that night, there was a new reality in San Francisco, and it was emerging in the middle of a crucial political campaign."100 Milk quelled violence even as he wasted no time in escalating his bellicose rhetoric so as to frame Dade's outrage as a catalyst for intensified activism. "Without the President and the national leaders taking a stand, this will be a struggle like the black civil rights or the anti-Vietnam movements. . . . There will be violence and bitterness and the nation will be seared, but if we have to do battle in the streets we are ready to."101
As the selected 1977 documents vividly convey, Milk believed Orange Tuesday to be a watershed event, "a victory deeper than the actual vote," a swiftly rising tide of visibility, consciousness, and mobilization. "This was our Watts, our Selma, Alabama." In a powerful turn of affect and logic, Milk thanked Anita Bryant, for "she herself pushed the Gay Movement ahead and the subject can never be pushed back into the darkness. . . . she has, in fact, started what so many of us have talked about-a true national Gay Movement."102 And Milk did shape his public discourse on Orange Tuesday with an eye toward the coming election. In his candidacy announcement later that month, during the Gay Freedom Day celebrations, Milk asked where the city's elected officials had been during those days of protest, where had been the "appointed gay officials," such as his replacement on the Board of Permit Appeals and soon-to-be campaign rival, Rick Stokes. "Like every other group," Milk averred, "we should be judged by our leaders."
And GLBTQ leadership was needed more than ever. Anita Bryant's homophobic discourse surely had something central to do with the rise of anti-GLBTQ violence in San Francisco as elsewhere. Although city gardener Robert Hillsborough was murdered by a young man deeply conflicted about his own sexuality, John Cordova's chanting of "faggot" while repeatedly stabbing his victim marked it as a crime constituted if not directly caused by the same hate speech that Milk found politically galvanizing. Hillsborough's mother said of Anita Bryant, "My son's blood is on her hands."103 This very same fund of hate speech provided gubernatorial hopeful and California state senator John Briggs with an expedient platform, announcing just days after Orange Tuesday his campaign to remove from the public schools "gay teachers" or anyone affirming homosexuality in the classroom. Local politicians took the opportunity to attempt repeal of the recently-won district elections and to recall GLBTQ-friendly officials such as Moscone, Hongisto, and Freitas, a nail biter not resolved favorably until the mid-summer special election. Across the nation, concerted efforts began to roll back gay rights, repeal campaigns that by 1978 would prove successful in St. Paul, Wichita, and Eugene.104 Assemblyman Art Agnos decided not to pursue promised gay rights legislation within the current climate created by Bryant and the Dade repeal.105
Within this broad combustible and propulsive political context, Milk stayed true to the vision he had forged through three previous campaigns. He never wavered from his position that GLBTQ people needed an "avowed gay leader" in office, one who was not beholden to those straight liberal "allies" who retreated from their pledged support whenever the political temperature on homosexuality rose precipitously. During this campaign, Milk first called for a statewide "gay caucus" and convention that would mobilize community across political, social, and other lines to create a unified front and influential bloc designed to test the commitment of any aspirant politician-local, state, or national-on gay rights issues. In the 1977 selected documents and elsewhere Milk again was writing about what he called "gay economic power" and the representational power of a visible "lifestyle."106 In his speech to the San Francisco Gay Democratic Club he claimed that his motivation for running (running and running and running) was that "I remember what it was like to be 14 and gay." Inspiring that kid from Altoona, or Des Moines, or wherever the closet needed to be opened in the now-familiar refrain of the evolving Hope speech, was Milk's sine qua non.107
Yet, even with a heightened emphasis on gay rights, Milk's campaign vision and platform still embodied the populist, neighborhood activist fighting for all people in District 5 and across San Francisco, voicing issues that mattered to African-Americans, Latinos, women, the elderly, heterosexuals. In "Milk Forum" he openly called for a coalition with other minorities.108 As he has declared in his 1973 Address to the San Francisco Joint International Longshoremen Warehousemen's Union and LAFAYETTE CLUB, "People are more important than buildings and neighborhoods, more important than freeways." This was still Milk's mantra, one that made his call to GLBTQ people that "we must learn from history that the time for riding in the back of the bus is over" broadly resonant, even in this virulently homophobic period.
Milk's campaign, despite more favorable circumstances than in any of his previous attempts, nevertheless required a fight.109 He was once again openly opposed by prominent members of the gay establishment, including his accommodationist challenger, wealthy attorney and bathhouse entrepreneur Rick Stokes, who out spent him nearly three-to-one. Moreover, the threat loomed that a split gay vote in District 5 could lead to a victory for the formidable straight liberal candidate, Terence Hallinan. However, Milk had momentum in this electoral season that nearly perfectly reversed his showing in 1976. He won the endorsements of the GLBTQ press, including longtime antagonist Sentinel, as well as most of the GLBTQ Democratic clubs, and unexpectedly, gained the straight press support of the liberal Bay Guardian and relatively conservative San Francisco Chronicle. With such visible and influential backing, as well as the help of campaign manager Anne Kronenberg, as well as Dick Pabich, Jim Rivaldo, Cleve Jones, Frank Robinson and Danny Nicoletta, Milk finally won, taking 30% of the vote in a field of 17, finishing first in 60/98 precincts and second in another 33. Harry Britt, who would succeed Milk as city supervisor in little more than a year, remembered:
Election night, 1977, was a night when we looked at each other in the clutter of Harvey's camera store headquarters in a new way. I don't think many of us had looked beyond that night-now we allowed ourselves to envision new possibilities, to sense that the magic Harvey had seen in us and built power around could spread and create a different future in which power and acceptance of diversity might come together. The people of District 5-GLBTQ and straight-had understood Harvey's call to that future. Seemingly, he would now be able to lead us to his Promised Land.110
Milk's triumphal message consummated the vision he had forged since 1973. "'This is not my victory, it's yours and yours and yours. . . . If a gay can win, it means that there is hope that the system can work for all minorities if we fight. We've given them hope.'"111
Harvey Milk's forty-two and a half weeks as the first openly gay elected city official in the United States is captured metaphorically by the iconic photograph depicting his walk from the Castro to City Hall on Inauguration Day, January 9, 1978. The joyous occasion appears in the smiles on the faces of Milk and his constituents, including his troubled and troublesome boyfriend Jack Lira, around whose shoulder Harvey's arm is intimately draped (openly sharing the day with his lover meant so much, personally and symbolically). In glancing at the photograph, it could be a depiction from a Gay Freedom Day parade; indeed, in an important sense, it was. But it might also have been a demonstration, not unlike those which followed the same path after Robert Hillsborough's murder and Orange Tuesday, marching again for GLBTQ justice and equality. Although Milk now operated officially as a gay rights leader on the inside-as he had always insisted was necessary-rather than struggling against discriminatory power from Castro Street, he never stopped the street theater, the marching, the neighborhood activism, the campaigning. As he had stated in his 1977 Victory Statement, "I understand the significance of electing the first Gay person to public office and what his responsibility is not only to the people of San Francisco but to Gay people all over. It's a responsibility that I do not take lightly. Whoever shoulders that responsibility must be willing to fight. It won't be an easy task"112 Where Milk was concerned, and as the photograph speaks, all political work, even the bureaucratic sort, constituted a mode of activism.
Electing to be sworn in on the steps of City Hall, where more might see and the spectacle might flash more brilliantly despite the falling rain, Milk's inaugural words foretold the spirit of his leadership to come: "Anita Bryant said gay people brought drought to California. Looks to me like it's finally started raining. . . . This is not my swearing-in, this is your swearing-in. You can stand around and throw bricks at Silly Hall or you can take it over. Well, here we are."113 Milk's first official act as supervisor introduced an anti-discrimination ordinance assuring gay rights in all employment, housing, and public accommodations in San Francisco. In his first major address, included among the 1978 selected documents, Milk told his audience, "I understand that my election was not alone a question of my gayness but a question of what I represent. In a very real sense, Harvey Milk represents the spirit of the neighborhoods of San Francisco. For the past few years, my fight to make the voice of the neighborhoods of this city be heard was not unlike the fight to make the voice of the cities themselves be heard. The American Dream starts with the neighborhoods." A month later, Milk emphasized that his domestic policy chiefly concerned an "emotional commitment" or "patriotism" regarding the city and its "new demographics": "The city is no longer primarily white, established, middle class, or even primarily married with children. It's yellow, brown, black, with a steady influx into the middle economic class of people who were formerly lower economic class. It's also increasingly young marrieds [sic] with no children, or young couples who aren't married, or extended families, or gays, or singles, and most certainly seniors." Ever the populist, progressive bridge builder, Milk would pave the way for a city he believed one day in the near future would be most heavily populated and influenced by Chinese and GLBTQ Americans.114
Milk quickly discovered that laboring in City Hall on behalf of San Francisco and its neighborhoods differed substantially from the grassroots efforts that championed it. Anne Kronenberg, now one of Milk's administrative aides, explained:
Any glamorous illusions I had about coming to City Hall were quickly dispersed. I learned that the job was difficult, often thankless and always frustrating. Everybody thought we could solve their problems whether it was cars parked on sidewalks, dog poop in the park or street signs that needed repair. We were district representatives and Harvey was elected to handle these problems, to be the voice of District 5 in City Hall. Each morning Harvey would empty his pockets stuffed with scribbled napkins filled with names, numbers and constituent problems. . . . Life in City Hall was not as Harvey envisioned it either. It was one thing running a campaign, it was quite another working within a bureaucracy to accomplish your goals.115
Milk was often on the losing end of 6-5 votes on the Board. He often clashed with his fellow supervisors, perhaps especially, as the months passed, with District 8 supervisor Dan White.116 Although White's campaign discourse in his conservative, Irish Catholic district had been unmistakably homophobic, Milk told his skeptical friends and colleagues that White was "educable" and promising. White's early solidarity corroborated Milk's intuition: persuading Board president Dianne Feinstein to appoint Milk chairman of the coveted Streets and Transportation Committee, voting with Milk to save the Pride Center and to honor the 25th anniversary of a lesbian couple, and endorsement in committee of Milk's gay rights ordinance. Milk aide Dick Pabich observed, "He's supported us on every position, and he goes out of his way to find out what gay people think about things."117 Their relationship soured, however, after Milk reversed his position on the psychiatric treatment facility White sought to keep out of his neighborhood, casting the deciding vote. White's thin-skin and grudging character forged Milk's perceived betrayal into an abiding animus and internecine rivalry. White would cast the only negative vote against the ultimately successful gay rights ordinance. As we know, White's vindictiveness could and would go beyond the pale-tragically so.
Yet despite the bureaucratic drudgery required to solve the practical problems of his constituents, evidenced by quotidian correspondence found in his archives, and the frictions and frustrations of routine political wrangling on a Board with an opposition majority, Milk thrived. After memorably informing Mayor Moscone that Milk was "number one queen now,"118 the two, once politically at odds, became allies. Moreover, as Mike Wong observed,
Harvey was probably the most popular elected official in San Francisco today. . . . The women . . . who once labeled Harvey as anti-woman were now his supporters. Gay people found a committed defender of gay rights. The Toklas members had come to respect their once enemy. Liberals who once shunned him found him to be most receptive and enjoyable to work with. Neighborhood groups knew that they had a powerful ally on the Board. Harvey's re-election list [by supervisorial lottery as part of the Board restructuring post-district elections, Milk was among those supervisors would have to run for reelection in 2 rather than 4 years] now included endorsements from most of his former opponents and people who never gave him the time of day.119
Milk's leadership also began to become more visible and influential on the state and national political scenes. He successfully helped organize the California Gay Caucus, creating a politically united front that would achieve coalitional solidarity and thus create pressure on political candidates of every stripe to support gay rights. The Caucus enacted Milk's vision long sought in his voter registration efforts and calls for GLBTQ power and indigenous leadership, embodying his belief that "Gay political clout must move forward in the face of the recent defeats in St. Paul and Wichita."
Dominating Milk's attention during most of what remained of that first year in office, and solidifying his reputation as a local activist stalwart with an expanding national reputation, was state senator John Briggs' crassly opportunistic and virulently homophobic campaign to rid the California schools of GLBTQ teachers-what became certified as Proposition 6 in May and otherwise known as the Briggs Initiative.120 Given Briggs' disrepute, even within his own party, he undoubtedly surprised most by taking the mantle of Anita Bryant and making the entire state of California the battleground staked elsewhere that year only in municipalities like Wichita and Eugene. Few would have expected this fight to culminate in Milk's crowning achievement-and swan song.
Within that broader post-Dade County context, there was little reason to be optimistic about stemming the national wave of homophobia that Briggs had managed to ride into temporary political prominence and menace. Much as in the case of Bryant's campaign, the Briggs Initiative inflamed the electorate because it concerned children, discourse rife with bogeys of sodomy, molestation and murder of innocents, and the classroom as a breeding ground of homosexual indoctrination. As Briggs argued in an apocalyptic editorial entitled, "Deviants Threaten the American Family": "Children in this country spend more than 1,200 hours a year in classrooms. A teacher who is a known homosexual will automatically represent that way of life to young, impressionable students at a time when they are constantly exposed to such homosexual role models, they may well be inclined to experiment with a life-style that could lead to disaster for themselves and ultimately, for society as a whole."121 Elsewhere Briggs warned, "If you let one homosexual teacher stay, soon there'll be two, then four, then 8, then 25-and before long, the entire school will be taught by homosexuals."122
For potential victims of Prop 6, the scope and implications of its broad language-"advocating, soliciting, imposing, encouraging, or promoting private or public sexual acts . . . between persons of the same sex in a manner likely to come to the attention of other employees or students"-struck deeply rooted personal and communal fears of (state sponsored) exposure and ruination, and the greater ease and likelihood of being ensnared. Sol Madfes, executive director of the United Administrators of the San Francisco school district, explained that, "The Briggs Initiative would leave teachers in the position of being accused-and then having to prove their innocence. . . . The board or superintendant will listen when a parent starts yelling. The attitude is-where there's smoke, there's fire. Under Briggs, the opportunity would be there to crucify somebody by accusation."123 The first poll in September indicated 61%-31% in favor of Prop 6.124 GLBTQ press and activists urged calm and solidarity in the face of certain defeat.
Milk's response, as we might expect, was to fight. According to his battle plan, articulated and reiterated throughout the documents in this section, one must ceaselessly talk, speaking out to explode the homophobic myths and hysteria that the Religious Right and opportunists such as John Briggs exploited to their ideological and political advantage. Milk implored:
I believe that we can win in November . . . but only if we mount a full-fledged campaign. One that covers all bases, both positive and defensive. Yes, defensive, too. For not to answer the false charges is, to some, an admission that the charges are not false. Otherwise, we would repudiate them. There is no time like the present to start to repudiate them. For the sooner we start, the sooner we can lay them to rest. So, we need to have every gay person talk to as many non-gay people as possible about the issues-both real and false. It will be a monumental effort and, because many gays will remain in their closet, it makes it that much more important for those of us who are out.
And talk he did, refuting the lies and distortions that asserted that homosexuality is a choice, that homosexuals are the primary perpetrators of child molestation and abuse, that homosexuals recruit by becoming "role models" for the "lifestyle," and simultaneously promoting the idea that homosexuality is natural, given, omnipresent, good, and undeserving of discrimination, harassment, and violence. In mobilizing GLBTQ people to rise up against Briggs, Milk employed patriotic collective memory, quoting Patrick Henry, the Declaration of Independence, the Statue of Liberty's credo, and the Star Spangled Banner. In characterizing the viciousness of the Briggs Initiative, and as a means of rousing resistance by shattering apathy, Milk favored the Holocaust trope, likening Briggs to Hilter and GLBTQ people to Jews oppressed by the genocidal Nazi regime: "We are not going to allow our rights to be taken away and then march with bowed heads to the gas chambers. On this anniversary of Stonewall, I ask my Gay sisters and brothers to make their commitment to fight. For themselves, for their freedom, for their country."125 What had become his signature opening line, full of humor and bite, said it all: "I'm Harvey Milk and I'm here to recruit you."
Randy Shilts characterized the public debates Milk and Briggs staged across the state through the fall of 1978 as "fast food politics," owing to the by now boilerplate responses to questions repeated over and over again, and perhaps in part because these political gladiators fighting for the lives of their constituents had become friendly on the road and in the wings of their public verbal battles.126 But even if the message had become prepackaged and efficient, such mantra-like repetition and simplicity, and the familiarity of the performance, offered Milk's best hope of eroding the bulwark of Briggs' homophobic invective. We believe it made the difference in defeating Prop 6. Others have offered different and compelling reasons for the shift away from Briggs: heterosexuals' eventual realization that Prop 6 would create a slippery slope endangering their free speech and privacy; high-powered bipartisan appeals against the initiative by Ronald Reagan, Jerry Brown, Jimmy Carter and nearly every other state politician (even if some, namely the good straight liberal allies Milk had long said could not be trusted, were quieter in their solidarity than the rest); concerted effort by sophisticated GLBTQ politicos and their allies in Los Angeles and elsewhere; Briggs himself, with his support eroding as election day neared, became even more hyperbolic. Nevertheless, these other influences absent Milk's tireless voice would have been necessary but insufficient to defeat Briggs. Harvey Milk had held sway. On November 7, Prop 6 was defeated by more than a million votes, 3.9-2.8 million, 58%-42%.127
In his victory speech, Milk cast his gaze on the future: "This is only the first step. The next step, the more important step, is for all those gays who did not come out, for whatever reasons, to do so now. To come out to all your family, to come out to all your relatives, to come out to all your friends-the coming out of a nation will smash the myths once and for all."128 Milk, who often invoked the civil rights movement and especially Martin Luther King, Jr. as analogy, had delivered his mountaintop speech-quite literally, given the events that unfolded in the immediate wake of Briggs' defeat.
Much has been said by others about those final weeks between the euphoria of Prop 6's demise and the assassinations of Harvey Milk and George Moscone on November 27, 1978. The emotional unraveling of Dan White; his resignation from the Board of Supervisors; his strong-armed rescinding of that resignation and appeal for reinstatement; the political jockeying and lobbying that ensued during the interim; his learning from a reporter that Moscone would not reappoint him; his armed entry of City Hall through a basement window; his execution of George Moscone; his execution of Harvey Milk; Dianne Feinstein's devastating revelation to City Hall employees and reporters, "Mayor Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk have been shot . . . and killed. Police have a suspect. Supervisor Dan White." Much too has been said about Milk's eerie fatalism, his longstanding prediction that he would die early, his preoccupation with the possibility of assassination, existential trembling no doubt exacerbated by proliferating death threats, the deep exhaustion of the anti-Briggs campaign, the Jonestown massacre in Guyana, and the suicide of boyfriend Jack Lira. Because he recorded it a year before his death, we include in this volume a portion of his political will. Milk's myth is burnished by such hauntings, our retrospective understanding that he knew somehow that he would never get to the promised land with his gay brothers and sisters. But we will leave that myth and thirty year's worth of Milk memory-the candlelight march on the night of the assassination, White's sham trial, Twinkie defense and reduced sentence, the White Night riots, the annual commemorations, the archive, The Mayor of Castro Street, The Times of Harvey Milk, Harvey Milk: An Opera in Three Acts, Harvey Milk Plaza, Harvey Milk High School, his bust in City Hall, Milk, Harvey Milk Day, and much more-for another volume.129
Rather, we think it fitting simply to note the profound silence on November 27, 1978. In response, we let Harvey, again and again in the pages that follow, speak for himself.
Why Milk Memory Matters
In an important sense, the timing of this collection could not be better. Our project promises to be illuminated by the still-lingering afterglow of the Focus Features film Milk, directed by Gus Van Sant, written by Dustin Lance Black, for which he received an Academy Award, and starring Sean Penn as Harvey Milk. This acclaimed biopic rediscovered and, for both gay and straight audiences, introduced the name and political life of Harvey Milk. We cannot emphasize this enough: we would venture to estimate that a large percentage an entire GLBTQ generation, and most of multiple generations of straight people, would not have recognized the name Harvey Milk before 2008. Milk retrieved, if within the limits of Hollywood history, the Castro's first decade as a GLBTQ homeland, Mecca or Oz, the time before HIV/AIDS when sex, sociality, solidarity, and struggle created affective bonds and visibility never before experienced to such an extent by GLBTQ peoples in the United States. Christopher Castiglia and Christopher Reed view Milk-and Milk's appropriation of Rob Epstein's 1984 documentary The Times of Harvey Milk-as part of the reparative and transformational countermemory that undoes "de-generational unremembering" and deploys the past for social and political GLBTQ benefits in the present.130 Mathias Danbolt suggests that the film also productively juxtaposes heady memorialization with "archives of homophobic violence"-black and white images of state repression of gay men, the viscera of shame, Milk's brutal end-so that we "remember that the fight for a society livable for all continues in the present"-that is, as a mode of activist mobilization.131
The stakes of the film deepened and widened because of the timing of its release in late fall of 2008, on the eve of the historic Obama election and amid the clamor of battle over Proposition 8 ("California Marriage Protection Act"), the ballot initiative and constitutional amendment that would by definition exclude same-sex marriage in California. Numerous articles marked parallels between the Prop 8 fight and Harvey Milk's successful campaign against Proposition 6. Proposition 6 failed, perhaps Milk's greatest political achievement; Proposition 8 passed, for many a devastating reversal of short-lived marriage equality. Despite the wrenching disappointment, many believed that Milk re-politicized GLBTQ peoples, reignited the movement. "We need Harvey Milk now," someone told USA Today, "This movie reminds us what it's like to fight for our rights, something I think many of have forgotten how to do." Echoing the Advocate, which dramatically announced "the Resurrection of Harvey Milk," people wondered aloud "What would Harvey do?" and "What if Milk had lived?" Such questions and the discourses that inspired them revealed a robust public memory of Milk.132
In the few years since the film, Milk's legacy has remained amplified, as an inspiration for the 2009 Equality March on Washington; in panels sponsored by the San Francisco GLBT Historical Society and featured in its new museum space; in the public performances of Cleve Jones and Dustin Lance Black; in Danny Nicoletta's photographic exhibitions; in the philanthropic efforts of nephew Stuart Milk and his Harvey Milk Foundation; in the 2009 posthumous awarding of the Presidential Medal of Freedom; in California's 2010 passage and subsequent annual celebrations of Harvey Milk Day; in public debate about how the space at 575 Castro should be embodied and utilized; in the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force petition to the United States Postal Service to create a Harvey Milk postage stamp; in Congressman Bob Filner's 2012 proposal that a naval ship be named the USS Harvey Milk in recognition of Milk's service and the end of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Our hope with this volume and beyond it is that Harvey Milk will resonate for generations of GLBTQ people fighting for their rights and protections and an end to homophobia, and for those engaged in queer world making.
At the same time as we believe An Archive of Hope reflects and extends this resurgence of Milk memory, we also feel strongly that it would be wise to consider this moment fleeting, to fret over the prospects of losing Milk once more. We note that Milk memory faded in the decades between his assassination and Milk, despite the critical acclaim for The Times of Harvey Milk (the Advocate review in February 1985: "Harvey Milk' Dilemma: Critical Raves, But Apathetic Audiences"), despite his being named one of the 100 most influential figures of the 20th century by Time in 1999, despite the opening in New York City of the Harvey Milk School in 2003.133 Writing on the 20th anniversary of Milk's assassination in 1998, John Cloud's lament accounts for memory's inertia or faltering:
[M]any gays don't know who he is. "The memory in this community doesn't last more than a few years," [gay historian John] D'Emilio says. Elaine Herscher, a San Francisco Chronicle reporter who has covered gay politics off and on for two decades, agrees: "The people under 45, even in the Castro, really don't know him." San Francisco officials have done their best to change this; every few years they rename a building or two for Milk (including, most recently, an elementary school that became the HarveyMilkCivil Rights Academy). When two men trying to build a Milk memorial in Washington, D.C., held a ceremony there to honor him last year, fewer than a dozen people turned out. It's too bad HarveyMilk is being forgotten.134
We have been haunted throughout our research by an editorial Milk protΘgΘ and AIDS Quilt founder Cleve Jones published in the Bay Area Reporter in November 2005 in support of the Harvey Milk Memorial Committee. Jones recounted that he and a friend, while having a drink at Edge in the Castro, struck up a conversation with a young gay man who responded to their reminiscing with the question, "Who was Harvey Milk?" More alarming, once having been told Milk's story, a story that had helped make possible three gay men having such a conversation in a gay neighborhood in the U.S., this twenty-something could not grasp the legacy, comparing without irony Milk's impact to that of pop singing star Avril Lavigne.135 Twenty years earlier, Frances FitzGerald, surveying a decade's worth of Milk commemoration, concluded: "The Castro mourned Harvey Milk, and yet it could not seem to make him into a living legend-that is, into a legend that would nourish and sustain it. The Castro saw him as a martyr but understood his martyrdom as an end rather than a beginning. He had died, and with him a great deal of the Castro's optimism, idealism, and ambition seemed to die as well. The Castro could find no one to take his place in its affections, and possibly it wanted no one."136
Jones would likely take issue with FitzGerald, as he did with his new acquaintance in the Castro. His point, which we emphasize, is that GLBTQ history and memory are fragile, rarely taught and subject to trivialization even by those within GLBTQ communities. We believe the antidote to such presentism and erasure is to engage in an ongoing effort to circulate queer pasts and conjure their presence wherever possible, in classrooms and community meetings, at pride celebrations and fundraising events, and, yes, even in those gay social spaces where "history lessons" might be, well, out of the ordinary. What George Chauncey observed in the context of gay male subculture in the early twentieth century remains vital and necessary for diverse GLBTQ communities today: "[W]e need to invent-and constantly reinvent-a tradition on the basis of innumerable individual and idiosyncratic readings of [queer] texts. . . . embed its transmission in the day-to-day social organization of [our] world. . . . passed on in bars and at cocktail parties, from friend to friend, from lover to lover, from older . . . serving as mentors to younger . . . just beginning to identify themselves as gay."137 The stories we tell about GLBTQ pasts provide resources, inspiration, and challenge in present struggles-from historic battles over gay marriage and preventing suicides by bullied queer youth, to endemic racism, sexism, classism, ableism, and ageism-and shape the queer futures we imagine and chart.
Toward that end, in December 2010 California state senator Mark Leno introduced SB48, the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act, legislation that would revise the existing Education Code so as to include GLBTQ people among those other racially and culturally diverse groups already protected against "adverse portrayals" in the state curriculum; moreover, it would require adoption of educational materials that would accurately portray the role and contribution of GLBTQ people in society.138 On April 4, 2011 more than 70 GLBTQ and ally high school students rallied on the Capitol steps in Sacramento and lobbied on behalf of FAIR as part of the annual Queer Youth Advocacy Day; a day later, on April 5, the senate judiciary committee passed SB 48 by a 3-2 vote. On April 14 it passed the state senate 23-14, and it passed the assembly 49-25 on July 5. Gov. Brown signed FAIR into law on July 14, 2011; tellingly, the jubilant announcement of FAIR becoming law on the popular GLBTQ blog towleroad.com was accompanied by the well-known photograph of Harvey Milk in the Gay Freedom Day parade, 1978.139 With this legislation signed into law, California's position as largest purchaser of textbooks in the United States could greatly influence what the nation's students are taught, a potentially powerful counter to the social science curriculum as it will be shaped by the second largest textbook purchaser, namely Texas.140 However, as of this writing multiple antigay grassroots efforts have been underway to seek repeal of FAIR. Further hindering enactment of FAIR, although the law went into effect in January 2012 most school districts may find a loophole created by state budget cuts. Textbook revisions have been deferred until at least 2015.141
Leno justified the bill in part by arguing that a GLBTQ affirmative curriculum may function to reduce homophobic vernacular, bullying, and bashing. Arguably this vision has been legitimated by the case of Stoke Newington School in north London which claimed last fall to have all but eradicated bullying by introducing in its classrooms Alan Turing, Oscar Wilde, James Baldwin, Any Warhol and other prominent GLBTQ figures.142 Put differently, had California governor Schwarzenegger not vetoed legislation in 2006 prohibiting negative characterizations of homosexuality in textbooks, he would have had less cause to sign legislation in 2007 seeking to protect vulnerable GLBTQ youth from endemic homophobic violence, such as 15-year-old Lawrence King, who was shot in early 2008 by a classmate in the back of the head for being gay and gender non-conforming.143 Dustin Lance Black captured this promise in his 2009 Academy Award acceptance speech: "When I was 13 years old . . . . I heard the story of Harvey Milk. And it gave me hope. It gave me the hope to live my life, it gave me the hope to one day live my life openly as who I am and that maybe even I could fall in love and one day get married. . . . If Harvey had not been taken from us 30 years ago, I think he'd want me to say to all of the gay and lesbian kids out there tonight who have been told that they are less than by their churches or by the governmentor by their families that you are beautiful, wonderful creatures of value and that no matter what anyone tells you, God does love you and that very soon, I promise you, you will have equal rights, federally, across this great nation of ours."144
As a case in Milk memory's imagined application writ large, the private all-boys Town School in San Francisco took its second grade 7 and 8 year-old students on a field trip to the Castro in the spring of 2011 as part of its annual Day of Service, designed "to give our boys perspective on how they can make a small yet meaningful impact on their community." This "neighborhood study," as it was called, "focused on history, social and civil rights, the importance of diversity, and Harvey Milk," including a tour and lessons by a local historical guide at sites such as Pink Triangle Memorial Park, the Hope for the World Cure Mural, the Human Rights Campaign Action Center, Harvey Milk's camera shop, and "the Harvey Milk Elementary School, which is adorned with wonderful murals depicting Harvey Milk's commitment to diversity. While at the school, the guide shared Harvey Milk's analogy, likening a better world to a sandbox where all children play together harmoniously."145 In response to a surprisingly few protests by parents and others, headmaster Brewster Ely, who called the endeavor "a wonderful success," wrote in a public letter:
At Town we have long taught that it is important to be openminded about difference, and we are pleased that we have boys at school who have gay parents. A few families who felt uncomfortable with the Castro trip chose to keep their sons home, and we recognize their decision to do so. One anonymous parent felt compelled to contact the local CBS News desk and register her unhappiness about the trip through the media. On Friday, CBS ran a story in which I was quoted as saying, "The school and the administration see the Castro as a respected community in San Francisco, and we want our students to develop an appreciation for whoever lives in our community." In an unexpected way, this coverage provided the school and its leadership with a public forum to share the value we see in diversity and in fostering in our boys a respect for and understanding of difference.146
The embodied and mediated engagements of this field trip and its subsequent public discourse-experience, provocation, education, critique, activism, at an early age and cross-generationally-comprise the promises of Milk or any other GLBTQ memories.
The benefits of Milk and other memory work taught, exhibited, and performed in U.S. classrooms, in the immediate present and near future, come from enacting Stuart Biegel's advice: "even just mentioning LGBTs and acknowledging their existence, currently and throughout history, is an important step. Even if nothing else is done, such an act will be a significant contribution."147 Such appears to be the case with The Milk Effect (2012), 15-year-old Max Geschwind's ten-minute film in which he interviewed West Hollywood's five City Council members, as well as the four candidates in the state's 50th Assembly District race, on the impact of Milk's legacy. The Milk Effect concludes by having "his fellow Fairfax High students recite one of Milk's most famous speeches, creating a poignant reminder of how future generations are affected by the past." Prior to the seeing Milk, Geschwind had never heard of Harvey Milk, but inspired by the film and his work on West Hollywood's planning committee for Harvey Milk Day, he decided to make his own commemoration. In turn, Geschwind inspired his own classmates, who did not know what Milk had achieved.148
Longer term, as Kevin Kumashiro has theorized it, such "disruptive knowledge" functions more broadly as a queer world making initiative called "antioppressive education."149 Perhaps in the span of time it takes these Town School boys and their generation to grow into adulthood, more systemic transformation can be imagined, as expressed in the headmaster's closing words: "It is my hope that these events ultimately engender an even greater appreciation for diversity and a respect for all people. I close with a statement from our Town School philosophy: Town values being a diverse community that nurtures integrity, sensitivity and respect in its boys, and prepares them to become productive and contributing members of an ever-changing world."150
For all of these reasons, we emphasize that when Harvey talked, he was hard to forget, and his memory matters more now than ever. As ongoing instigation and inspiration, we recall Stephen O. Murray's refutation of the theory he had read in the influential volume, Habits of the Heart, which argued that GLBTQ people, collectively speaking, should not be understood as a community. A "'real community,'" according Bellah and his colleagues, "'does not forget its past.'" Rather it circulates "'stories of collective history and exemplary individuals,'" as well as "'painful stories of shared suffering.'" They concluded that "'Where history and hope are forgotten and community means only the gathering of the similar, community degenerates into lifestyle enclaves.'" Murray admirably invoked GLBTQ history courses and bookstores, the AIDS Quilt, oral history projects and the San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Historical Society (Milk, too, appears in his apologia) to demonstrate "community-generated public remembrance."151 In this age of neoliberalism, in which the private rewards of marriage and adoption may take us as GLBTQ deeper into our homonormative domiciles rather than more expansively into community and coalition building, we believe the gains of public remembrance must be constantly fostered and reestablished, and that we might usefully allow Bellah et al.'s ungenerous characterization haunt. An Archive of Hope, like Harvey Milk, must always be restless, reaching, establishing grounds of presently unknown possibilities of queerness yet to be.152
By way of closing, we are also reminded of what Horacio Ramφrez, in recounting legendary San Francisco performer Teresita la Campesina and queer Latino communal memory, described as the vexing but vital work of "talking history" or developing the "talking archive": "the process of narrating the lives of those who passed on and the meanings the archives communicate back to those committed to listening."153 For the sake of the future of GLBTQ pasts, which is to say the future of us all, we aim to keep Harvey talking, and we hope generations will earnestly engage the work of queer listening.
Endnotes 1 Strange de Jim, San Francisco's Castro (San Francisco: Arcadia Books, 2003), 73. 2 Although the terms "gay and lesbian" would be historically more accurate in keeping with the vernacular, we risk the anachronism "GLBTQ" throughout this essay because, though it too has many limitations (gender and sexually non-normative people have always exceeded the language that describes, constitutes, enables and constrains them), we believe it meaningfully gestures toward the great diversity among individuals, enclaves, and communities existing at that time in San Francisco. That said, in certain instances we use the word "gay" specifically, such as in the case of "gay establishment," because of its historical accuracy in depicting gay male dominance in a particular social or political sphere or mode, or the phrase "gay rights," which functions as exclusionary synechdoche but also circulated as an nearly universal designation of the movement during the 1970s. Any slippage in nomenclature, which we have found vexingly easy to commit, is our own error, and we are comfortable with the frictions inherent in our effort to queerly cross time through available language. Coincidentally, a 1977 three-part series in the Bay Area Reporter explored the genealogy of the term "gay," revealing its emergence as an idiom and its sexual politics. The articles did not discuss "gay" as an exclusive term representing a diverse population of gender and sexual non-normativity. Jack Warner, "'Gay'-Our Word, Their Word? Why Call Them Gay?" Parts I, II, and III, Bay Area Reporter, March 3, 1977, 7; March 31, 1977, 30; April 4, 1977, 12. 3 Dudley Clendinen and Adam Nagourney, Out for Good: The Struggle to Build a Gay Rights Movement in America (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1999), 407. 4 Frank M. Robinson, "Harvey's History-And Ours," The Harvey Milk Archives Newsletter 1 (January 1983), 4, Harvey Milk Archives-Scott Smith Collection (GLC 35), San Francisco Public Library. 5 Heather Love, "The Art of Losing," in Lost and Found: Queerying the Archive, eds. Mathias Danbolt, Jane Rowley, and Louise Wolthers (Copenhagen: Nikolaj, Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center, 2009), 69. 6 Frank M. Robinson, Letter to the Editor, San Francisco Bay Guardian, July 20, 1995, personal papers of Frank M. Robinson. 7 Some items from the estate, especially ephemera, were donated to the GLBT Historical Society and the ONE Institute. The GLBT Historical Society, for example, now houses Milk's famous barber chair from Castro Camera, in which we both have had the thrill of sitting. 8 Vince Emery's valuable volume, The Harvey Milk Interviews, is an excellent case in point. We met Mr. Emery in the reading room at the San Francisco Public Library, and have been bolstered by knowing during our project that he, too, was anthologizing Milk's archival materials. As we can all attest, there is much more to be done. Vince Emery, The Harvey Milk Interviews (San Francisco: Vince Emery Productions, 2012). 9 Ann Cvetkovich, An Archive of Feelings: Trauma, Sexuality, and Lesbian Public Cultures (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2003), 9. 10 In Diana Taylor's influential theory, the documentary (archive) and performative (repertoire) manifestations, preservations, and deployments of memory are distinct but interrelated and should be cultivated together. Taylor, The Archive and the Repertoire: Performing Cultural Memory in the Americas (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2003). 11 "Homosexual on Board Cites Role as Pioneer," New York Times, November 10, 1977, 24. 12 That is, for those who would welcome individuals functioning, synecdochally and otherwise, as the vehicles of history and memory; many are wary of such politics of historical representation. 13 This counternarrative to the "great man" hagiography is deftly crafted in Brett Callis' work, which has not been given the attention it deserves. Brett Cole Callis, From Castro Street to City Hall: Harvey Milk and Gay Politics in San Francisco, 1973-1977 (MA Thesis, University of Hawaii, 1991; UMI 1346930). 14 Jack Fritscher, Gay San Francisco: Eyewitness Drummer (San Francisco: Palm Drive Publishing, 2008), 117. Fritscher's claim that "homomasculine" culture has been ignored and erased by those chronicling GLBTQ history is compelling, and his "eyewitness" to GLBTQ culture in San Francisco over the past 35 years has been insightful and invaluable. By way of contextualizing his observations about Milk, it is also worth noting a politics of remembrance perhaps shaped by longstanding intercommunity tensions. Castells and Murphy observe, "[M]any gays. . . . started another 'colonization' in the much harsher area South of Market. . . . Their marginality from the gay community was not only spatial. Socially, they tended to reject the politicization and positive counterculture of the new liberation movement. They emphasized the sexual aspects of the gay condition. The more the gay community appeared in the process of legitimation, the more a strongly individualised minority, generally poorer and less educated [Fritscher has a PhD], headed toward self-affirmation of a new sexual 'deviance,' many of them joining the sado-masochistic networks: South-of-Market became the quarters of 'leather culture.'" Manuel Castells and Karen Murphy, "Cultural Identity and Urban Culture: The Spatial Organization of San Francisco's Gay Culture," in Urban Policy Under Capitalism, eds. Nathan I. Fainstein and Susan S. Fainstein (Beverly Hills, CA: Sage, 1982), 254-255. For a more laudatory perspective on the gay community South of Market, see Gayle S. Rubin, "The Miracle Mile: South of Market and Gay Male Leather, 1962-1997), in Reclaiming San Francisco: History, Politics, Culture, eds. James Brook, Chris Carlsson, and Nancy J. Peters (San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1998): 247-272. 15 Clendinen and Nagourney, Out for Good, 405. 16 Fritscher, Gay San Francisco, 117. 17 Jonathan Bell, California Crucible: The Forging of Modern American Liberalism (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012), 259. 18 Harvey Milk, "On the Milk Stool," Coast to Coast (Los Angeles), 1978, Harvey Milk Archives-Scott Smith Collection (GLC35), Box 26 (1973-1978), Clippings. 19 Harry Britt, "Harvey Milk as I Knew Him," in Out in the Castro: Desire, Promise, Activism, ed. Winston Leyland (San Francisco: Leyland Publications, 2002), 78. 20 Jim Rivaldo, "Remembering How Harvey Milk Helped Pave the Way," Bay Area Reporter, June 21, 2001, 40. 21 James M. Jasper, The Art of Moral Protest: Culture, Biography, and Creativity in Social Movements (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997), 201. 22 Streimatter argues that the significance of such activism in San Francisco, and Milk's role in it, was amplified because of an expanding gay press: "Seeing that the major events were being covered by the establishment media, lesbian and gay journalists adopted a new tack: they transformed local events into national ones. By the conventional definition of news, the vote on a city gay rights ordinance was of local interest only; by the revised gay press definition, such a vote was the fodder for the front page of gay newspapers everywhere. In short, the newspapers "nationalized" gay news. Streitmatter, Unspeakable, 220. 23 Boze Hadleigh, "Harvey Milk: Ten Years After," Christopher Street, September 1988, 16. 24 Clendinen and Nagourney, Out for Good, 403. 25 Ronald Yates and Michael Coakley, "Milk's Murder Stuns San Francisco Gays," Chicago Tribune, November 30, 1978, 7. 26 Ed Jackson, "Gay Liberation 101-Plus," The Body Politic, November 1984, 30. 27 For biographical material regarding Harvey Milk's life before politics, see Harvey Milk Archives-Scott Smith Collection (GLC 35); Harvey Milk-Susan Alch Correspondence (GLC 19); Harvey Milk-Joseph Campbell Correspondence; Randy Shilts Papers, Mayor of Castro Street series, James C. Hormel Gay and Lesbian Center, San Francisco Public Library; Randy Shilts, The Mayor of Castro Street: The Life and Times of Harvey Milk (New York: St. Martin's Press), 1982 28 Shilts, The Mayor of Castro Street, 38. 29 For pre-Castro GLBTQ San Francisco history, see John D'Emlio, "Gay Politics and Community in San Francisco since World War II," in Hidden from History: Reclaiming the Gay and Lesbian Past, eds. Martin Bauml Duberman, Martha Vicinus, and George Chauncey, Jr. (New York: New American Library): 456-476; Allan BΘrubΘ, Coming Out Under Fire: The History of Gay Men and Women in World War Two (New York: Free Press, 1990); Susan Stryker and Jim Van Buskirk, Gay by the Bay: A History of Queer Culture in the San Francisco Bay Area (San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1996); Nan Alamilla Boyd, Wide Open Town: A History of Queer San Francisco to 1965 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003); Ramφrez, "A Living Archive of Desire"; Marcia M. Gallo, Different Daughters: A History of the Daughters of Bilitis and the Rise of the Lesbian Rights Movement (San Francisco: Seal Press, 2007); Susan Stryker, Transgender History (San Francisco: Seal Press, 2008); J. Todd Ormsbee, The Meaning of Gay: Interaction, Publicity, and Community among Homosexual Men in 1960s San Francisco (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2010); Allan BΘrubΘ, My Desire for History: Essays in Gay, Community, and Labor History, eds. John D'Emilio and Estelle B. Freedman (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2011), chapters 1-4; John D'Emilio, Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities: The Making of a Homosexual Minority in the United States, 1940-1970, 2nd edition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998), chapter 12; Bell, California Crucible, chapter 10. 30 For detailed explanations of the complex changes in San Francisco that made possible the significant growth of GLBTQ culture and politics, and the development of the Castro as we have come to know it, see Fritscher, Gay San Francisco; Timothy Stewart-Winter, "The Castro: Origins to the Age of Milk," The Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide 16 (January-February 2009), 12-15; Josh Sides, Erotic City: Sexual Revolutions and the Making of Modern San Francisco (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009); Martin Meeker, Contacts Desired: Gay and Lesbian Communications and Community, 1940s-1970s (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006); Screaming Queens: The Riot at Compton's Cafeteria, dir. Victor Silverman and Susan Stryker (Los Angeles: Frameline, 2005); Joshua Gamson, The Fabulous Sylvester: The Legend, the Music, the Seventies in San Francisco (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2005); Winston Leyland, ed., Out in the Castro: Desire, Promise, Activism (San Francisco: Leyland Publications, 2002); The Castro, dir. Peter L. Stein (San Francisco: KQED, 1998); Clendinen and Nagourney, Out for Good, chapter 10; Benjamin Heim Shepard, White Nights and Ascending Shadows: An Oral History of the San Francisco AIDS Epidemic (London: Cassell, 1997); Streitmatter, Unspeakable; Richard Edward DeLeon, Left Coast City: Progressive Politics in San Francisco, 1975-1991 (Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas Press, 1992), chapter 3; John D'Emilio, "Gay Politics, Gay Community: San Francisco's Experience," in Making Trouble: Essays on Gay History, Politics, and the University, ed. John D'Emilio (New York: Routledge, 1992): 74-95; Frances Fitzgerald, Cities on a Hill: A Journey through Contemporary American Cultures (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1986); John D'Emilio, Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities: The Making of a Homosexual Minority in the United States, 1940-1970 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983), chapter 10; Manuel Castells, The City and the Grassroots: A Cross-Cultural Theory of Urban Social Movements (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1983), chapter 14; Shilts, The Mayor of Castro Street; Edmund White, States of Desire: Travels in Gay America (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1980): 30-69. 31 D'Emilio, "Gay Politics and Community in San Francisco since World War II," 468. 32 Chester Hartman, The Transformation of San Francisco (Totowa, New Jersey: Rowman and Allanheld, 1984; Stewart-Winter, "The Castro." 33 D'Emilio, "Gay Politics and Community in San Francisco since World War II," 468. 34 Larry Kramer, "Gay Boom Seen in Bay Area," Washington Post, April 7, 1978, F2; Fitzgerald, Cities on a Hill, 48; Daniel Nicoletta, "So Long at the Fair," The Harvey Milk Archives Newsletter 1 (July 1983), 1. See also Danny Nicoletta, "Harvey Milk and the Castro of the 70s," East Village Boys (January 21, 2009): http://www.eastvillageboys.com/2009/01/21/dan-nicoletta-harvey-milk-and-the-castro-of-the-70s/; Daniel Curzon, "Why We Came to Sodom," The North American Review 268 (December 1983): 21-23. 35 Quoted in Stewart-Winter, "The Castro," 14. See Clendinen and Nagourney, Out for Good, chapter 10. 36 Bell, California Crucible, chapter 10; 261. 37 Bell, California Crucible, 263, 265. 38 D'Emilio observes, "The explosive growth of the gay community and its political activism also made internal differences visible. For some gay men liberation meant freedom from harassment; for radicalesbians it meant overthrowing the patriarchy. Bay Area Gay Liberation participated in anti-imperialist coalitions while members of the Alice B. Toklas Democratic Club sought to climb within the Democratic Party. The interests of gay entrepreneurs clashed with those of their gay employees. Gay male real-estate speculators displayed little concern for 'brothers' who could not pay the skyrocketing rents. Gay men and women of color found themselves displaced by more privileged members of the community as gentrification spread to more and more neighborhoods. Sexual orientation created a kind of unity, but other aspects of identity brought to the surface conflicting needs and interests." D'Emilio, "Gay Politics and Community in San Francisco since World War II," 468. On the critique of gay male sex culture, see Sides, Erotic City, chapter 3. 39 Elizabeth Armstrong, Forging Gay Identities: Organizing Sexuality in San Francisco, 1950-1994 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002), esp. chapters 5 and 6. 40 Armstrong, Forging Gay Identities, 104. 41 Bruce J. Schulman, The Seventies: The Great Shift in American Culture, Society, and Politics (New York: The Free Press, 2001), 72. 42 Dominic Sandbrook, Mad as Hell: The Crisis of the 1970s and the Rise of the Populist Right (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2011), 364. 43 Schulman, The Seventies, 180; Bruce J. Schulman, "Comment: The Empire Strikes Back-Conservative Responses to Progressive Social Movements in the 1970s," Journal of Contemporary History 43 (2008), 697. See also Simon Hall, "Protest Movements in the 1970s: The Long 1960s," Journal of Contemporary History 43 (2008): 655-672. 44 "Gays on the March," Time, September 8, 1975, 32. 45 John D'Emilio, "After Stonewall," in Making Trouble: Essays on Gay History, Politics, and the University (New York: Routledge, 1992), 248. 46 Moral shock, as conceptualized by sociologists James Jasper and later Deborah Gould, is constituted by a singular happening or multiple events, sudden or cumulative, which creates sufficient cognitive, affective, and ethical or moral disruption that one is compelled toward political action; it might be understood as contextual inducements that awaken or propel, motivate in a material sense, an activist (or collectively, movement), into being. In rhetorical studies, Bonnie Dow draws on Kenneth Burke to theorize how such "existential disruptions" can be, arguably must be, rhetorically produced or framed to function effectively. See Jasper, The Art of Moral Protest, 106; Deborah Gould, Moving Politics: Emotion and ACT UP's Fight Against AIDS (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009), 134-143; Bonnie J. Dow, "AIDS, Perspective by Incongruity, and Gay Identity in Larry Kramer's '1,112 and Counting,'" in Readings on the Rhetoric of Social Protest, 2nd edition, eds. Charles E. Morris III and Stephen Howard Browne (State College, PA: Strata, 2006): 320-334. 47 Shilts, The Mayor of Castro Street, 10, 71-72. 48 Callis in his thesis argues, as did some of Milk's critics, that during his political ascendancy, and specifically in his first three campaigns, Milk downplayed his sexuality, such as omitting his sexuality or gay rights issues from his official candidate statement, in his alliance with unions, or in his appeals to non-GLBTQ voters, a politically opportunistic calculus intended to strengthen the viability of his candidacies. His opponent in the 1976 Assembly campaign, Art Agnos, declared, "Milk is running a closet campaign in front of straight audiences and an upfront one in the gay community." This perspective deepens our engagement with the closet politics inevitably imbricated in a gay candidacy at the time-or in our own time, as the documentary Outrage demonstrates. That said, we are not convinced that Milk's tactics at any time during his political career constituted a variation of what Kenji Yoshino has conceptualized as "covering." Regardless of tactical foregrounding and de-emphasis, the broader context of Milk's public persona and framing, and his bedrock personal and political commitment to gay rights, even granting sometimes lamentable variations among outlets and audiences, rendered him functionally and unmistakably "out." Callis is correct in observing that Milk was never a single-issue, that is exclusively gay rights, candidate. Callis, From Castro Street to City Hall, 31, 51, 70, 97-98. See also Outrage: Do Ask, Do Tell, dir. Kirby Dick (New York: Magnolia Pictures, 2009); Kenji Yoshino, Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights (New York: Random House, 2006). 49 Callis, From Castro Street to City Hall, 24, chapter 2. 50 Deeper understanding of the gay political establishment in San Francisco can be found in the pages of the two leading gay papers, Bay Area Reporter and the Sentinel, as well as in SIR's newsletter, Vector. 51 Michael Wong, "Harvey," Harvey Milk Archives-Scott Smith Collection, Series 4, Box 13, 2; Harvey Milk, "Milk Forum: Gay Groupie Syndrome," Bay Area Reporter, February 20, 1975, 10-11. 52 Callis, From Castro Street to City Hall, 29-30, 37-38. 53 Wong, "Harvey," 1-2. Note, too, Daniel Curzon's memory of first encountering Milk: "Harvey wasn't St. Harvey then; in fact, he hadn't even been elected to the Board of Supervisors in San Francisco, but he was extremely articulate and charismatic as he spoke from his seat at the conference. I was turned on by him, to be honest." Daniel Curzon, Dropping Names: The Delicious Memoirs of Daniel Curzon (San Francisco: IGNA Books, 2004), 30. 54 Randy Shilts, "The Life and Death of Harvey Milk," Christopher Street (March 1979), 30. 55 William E. Beardemphl, "Comments," Bay Area Reporter, October 3, 1973, 6. 56 Harvey Milk, "Waves from the Left," Sentinel, February 14, 1974, 5. 57 Harvey Milk, "Waves from the Left," Sentinel, June 20, 1974; Harvey Milk, "Gay Groupie Syndrome," Bay Area Reporter, February 20, 1975, 10-11. See also Callis, From Castro Street to City Hall, chapter 3. 58 Harvey Milk, "Waves from the Left," Sentinel, May 9, 1974, 5. See also Harvey Milk, "Waves from the Left," Sentinel, May 9, 1974, 3; Harvey Milk, "Clear Choice for Voters," Bay Area Reporter, May 15, 1974, 1-2; Harvey Milk, "Waves from the Left," Sentinel, June 20, 1974, 3. 59 Harvey Milk, "Waves from the Left," Sentinel, February 28, 1974. 60 Harvey Milk, "Waves from the Left," Sentinel, July 3, 1974, 5; Harvey Milk, "Castro Street Fair," Bay Area Reporter, 8. 61 Harvey Milk, "Milk Forum: Gay Unity: Fact or Fiction," Bay Area Reporter, December 23, 1974, 8. 62 Harvey Milk, "Milk Forum: Teamsters Seek Gay Help," Bay Area Reporter, November 27, 1974, 2. 63 Harvey Milk, "Waves from the Left," Sentinel, July 18, 1974, 5. 64 Harvey Milk, "Waves from the Left," Sentinel, April 11, 1974, 5. 65 Harvey Milk, "Waves from the Left," Sentinel, April 11, 1974, 5; Harvey Milk, "Waved from the Left," Sentinel, August 29, 1974, 5. 66 Harvey Milk, "Milk Forum: Castro Busts," Bay Area Reporter, September 4, 1974; Harvey Milk, "Waves from the Left," Sentinel, September 12, 1974, 5. 67 Historically, indeed by definition, movement leaders do not seek elective office. Milk, however, defied categorization. He was a pastiche, philosophically, politically, rhetorically, one moment speaking in the tones and absolutes of gay liberation (though he claimed not to be a revolutionary and rebuked the extremes of left and right), then sounding like a gay rights reformist (though he rejected gradualism and assimilationism); little wonder he clashed with both the radicals of Bay Area Gay Liberation (BAGL) and the moderates of the Alice B. Toklas Memorial Democratic Club. As part of this explanation note that Milk emerged during the period of transition between the movements known as Gay Liberation and Gay Rights/Gay Identity. For discussions of changes in the GLBTQ movement in the 1970s, see Barry D. Adam, The Rise of the Gay and Lesbian Movement, rev. ed. (Boston: Twayne, 1995); Clendinen and Nagourney, Out for Good; Craig A. Rimmerman, From Identity to Politics: The Lesbian and Gay Movements in the United States (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2001); Armstrong, Forging Gay Identities; David Eisenbach, Gay Power: An American Revolution (New York: Carroll and Graf, 2006). 68 In Herbert Gold, "A Walk on San Francisco's Gay Side," New York Times, November 6, 1977, SM17. 69 Bell, California Crucible, 265. 70 "Elections: San Francisco Squeaker," Time, December 22, 1975: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,879568,00.html#ixzz1AHre4cvD 71 GLBT Studies scholar Wayne Dynes observed, "Later mythology has portrayed Harvey Milk as a radical leftist, but more careful scrutiny shows that he retained elements of his conservative background to the very end. At bottom he held an almost Jeffersonian concept of the autonomy of small neighborhoods, prospering through small businesses and local attention to community problems. . . . Milk anticipated the later strategy of the 'rainbow coalition,' but because of his personal gifts, and the time and place in which he lived, he was able to make it work more effectively for gay and lesbian politics than any other single individual has done before or since." Quoted in Paul Russell, The Gay 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Gay Men and Lesbians, Past and Present (New York: Kensington Publishing, 1995), 97. 72 Shilts, "The Life and Death of Harvey Milk," 31. 73 "Harvey Milk to Run for Supervisor," Bay Area Reporter, March 20, 1975, 3. 74 Quoted in Clendinen and Nagourney, Out for Good, 344; Philip Hagar, "Gay Power Emerging at Ballot Box," Los Angeles Times, September 30, 1975, A1. 75 Clendinen and Nagourney, Out for Good, 343-345; Shilts, The Mayor of Castro Street, 105-106. 76 Clendinen and Nagourney, Out for Good, 343-344; Callis, From Castro Street to City Hall, 79-80; Shilts, The Mayor of Castro Street, chapter 7. 77 Shilts, "The Life and Death of Harvey Milk," 32. 78 Harvey Milk, "Milk Forum: Untitled," Bay Area Reporter, December 11, 1975, 8. 79 Clendinen and Nagourney, Out for Good, 340. 80 George Mendehall, "Finding the Answers: Moscone: Milk Appointment Is Just the Beginning," Bay Area Reporter, February 5, 1976, 7. 81 Wong, "Harvey," 6; Shilts, The Mayor of Castro Street, 107, 120-121. It should be noted that pioneer lesbian activist Phyllis Lyon was appointed by Moscone to the Human Rights Commission the same year. Del Martin, "Phyllis Lyon," Before Stonewall: Activists for Gay and Lesbian Rights in Historical Context, ed. Vern L. Bullough (Binghamton, NY: Harrington Park Press, 2002): 169-178. 82 Harvey Milk, "Milk Forum: Musical Chairs," Bay Area Reporter, January 8, 1976, 4. 83 Jerry Burns, "Kopp Accuses Phil Burton and McCarthy of 'Unholy Alliance,'" San Francisco Chronicle, February 10, 1976, 4. 84 Callis, From Castro Street to City Hall, chapter 4, 93, 89; Bruce Brugmann and Jerry Roberts, "Ganging Up on Harvey Milk," San Francisco Bay Guardian, February 13, 1976; "Milk Will Run-Loses Permit Board Seat," San Francisco Chronicle, March 10, 1976, 6. 85 Harvey Milk, "Declaration of Candidacy," no date, Harvey Milk Archives-Scott Smith Collection (GLC35), Box 3, Series 2a, Harvey Milk Candidacy for Assembly 1976, Official Forms; George Mendenhall, "Finding the Answers: Harvey Milk vs. The Machine," Bay Area Reporter, February 19, 1976; George Mendenhall, "Finding the Answers: Harvey's Running," Bay Area Reporter, March 18, 1976; Shilts, The Mayor of Castro Street, chapter 9. 86 Milk's editorial concerned the 1976 Supreme Court affirmation by a 6-3 vote, without oral argument or written opinion, the lower court ruling upholding the Virginia sodomy statute in Doe v. Commonwealth's Attorney for the City of Richmond (E.D.Va., 403 F.Supp. 1199, affirmed, --- U.S. ----, 96 S.Ct. 1489, 47 L.Ed.2d 751 ). See Robert D. McFadden, "Homosexuals and A.C.L.U. Dismayed by Court's Ruling," New York Times, 30 March 1976, 17. Milk's animus toward what he called the Nixon Court was well founded. GLBT legal scholar William Eskridge observes, "The Burger Court not only denied rights in almost every decided case involving gay litigants or materials but narrowed Warren Court decisions that potentially empowered gay people against homophobes. . . . By treating sex as dirty conduct rather than expression and 'homosexuals' as presumptive sodomites rather than citizens, the Burger Court did what it could to preserve the remnants of the closet. Don't ask, don't tell sums up the Burger Court philosophy, itself derived from the approach still in rural and small-town America: gay people should be unseen but not heard." William N. Eskridge, Gaylaw: Challenging the Apartheid of the Closet (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999), 146. 87 Harvey Milk, "Milk Forum: A Lesson from the Convention," Bay Area Reporter, July 22, 1978. 88 Quoted in Shilts, The Mayor of Castro Street, 138. 89 Harvey Milk, "Milk Forum: Our Uncle Toms Learn from Nixon," Bay Area Reporter, May 13, 1976, 17; Bay Area Reporter, May 27, 1976, 19; Wong, "Harvey," 6-16; Shilts, The Mayor of Castro Street, chapter 9; Shilts, "The Life and Death of Harvey Milk," 33-34; Callis, From Castro Street to City Hall, 95-103; Ron Moscowitz, "Harvey Milk Blames 2 Factors for Defeat," San Francisco Chronicle, June 10, 1976, 7. 90 Sandbrook, Mad as Hell, 276. 91 Mark Vaz, "Zenger's Interview: Harvey Milk: The Candid Political Activist of San Francisco's Gay Community Speaks, Zenger's, November 3, 1976, found in James C. Hormel Gay & Lesbian Center of the San Francisco Public Library, GLC35, Milk-Smith Collection, Box 26, 73-78. 92 Paul Boyer, "The Evangelical Resurgence in 1970s American Protestantism, in Rightward Bound: Making America Conservative in the 1970s, eds. Bruce J. Schulman and Julian E. Zelizer (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008), 29. See also Perry Deane Young, God's Bullies: Native Reflections on Preachers and Politics (New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1982). 93 Sandbrook, Mad as Hell, 267, 348. 94 Matthew D. Lassiter, "Inventing Family Values," in Rightward Bound, 14. 95 Harvey Milk, "Milk Forum: Changes of Influence in '77," Bay Area Reporter, January 6, 1977, 8-9. 96 Shilts, The Mayor of Castro Street, 155. See also Gold, "A Walk on San Francisco's Gay Side." 97 For details of the Dade County repeal fight and its aftermath in 1977, see Tom Mathews, "Battle over Gay Rights," Newsweek (June 6, 1977), 16-26; Clendinen and Nagourney, Out for Good, chapters 22-26, Bryant quoted 292; Young, God's Bullies, chapter 3; Cleve Jones, Stitching a Revolution: The Making of an Activist (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), chapter 5; Eisenbach, Gay Power, chapter 10; Fred Fejes, Gay Rights and Moral Panic: The Origins of America's Debate on Homosexuality (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), chapters 3-5. 98 Harvey Milk, "Milk Forum: Where Does the Political Left Stand on Anita Bryant?" Bay Area Reporter, April 14, 1977, 9. See also Harvey Milk, "Milk Forum: Leave Anita Alone?" Bay Area Reporter, March 17, 1977, 4; Harvey Milk, "Milk Forum: Pools within Pools," Bay Area Reporter, March 31, 1977, 8. Cuban gay activist Ovidio "Herb" Rßmos was a spokesperson for the Latin Committee for the Human Rights of Gays, working in the Miami, where Bryant's hate speech in the Catholic Cuban community had been fanned by Catholic and Protestant leaders. He participated in a debate on March 14 with representatives of Save Our Children on a Spanish-language radio station. The vitriol of the comments spewed by those listeners who called in-advocating deportation, concentration camps, and execution-was so devastating that two days later Rßmos committed suicide. Fejes, Gay Rights and Moral Panic, 128-129; Young, God's Bullies, 53-54. 99 Harvey Milk, "Milk Forum: Porno Bill to Close Polk/Castro Bookstores and Flicks?" Bay Area Reporter, January 20, 1977, 4; Harvey Milk, "Milk Forum: The Damage Has Been Done-Again," Bay Area Reporter, February 3, 1977, 10; Milk, "Leave Anita Alone?"; Harvey Milk, "Milk Forum: Finding a Home for Porno Houses," Bay Area Reporter, June 9, 1977, 10. 100 Clendinen and Nagourney, Out for Good, 336-337. 101 Grant Winthrop, "Florida Vote Upsets San Francisco Homosexuals," Boston Globe, June 20, 1977. 102 See Tina Fetner, "Working Anita Bryant: The Impact of Christian Anti-Gay Activism on Lesbian and Gay Movement Claims," Social Problems 48 (August 2001): 411-428. 103 Shilts, The Mayor of Castro Street, 164. In a January 1979 editorial, Eric Rofes drew explicit linkages among Bryant's crusade, Hillsborough's murder, and Dan White's assassination of Harvey Milk within a broader context of escalating homophobic attacks. "To deny there is a connection [among these events]. . . is to deny there is a connection between the rational hatred of homosexuality and the irrational violence directed against gay people." Eric Rofes, "Milk Death, Homophobia Link Hard to Deny," Boston Globe, January 8, 1979, 11. 104 See Fejes, Gay Rights and Moral Panic, chapters 6 and 7. 105 Shilts, The Mayor of Castro Street, 160. 106 Harvey Milk, "Milk Forum: 40,000 Throng Castro St. Fair," Bay Area Reporter, August 18, 1977, 11; Harvey Milk, "Milk Forum: A Lifestyle Emerges," Bay Area Reporter, September 1, 1977, 11. 107 For analysis of the Hope Speech, and Milk's discourse generally, see Karen A. Foss, "Harvey Milk: 'You Have to Give Them Hope,'" Journal of the West 27 (April 1988): 75-81; Karen A. Foss, "The Logic of Folly in the Political Campaigns of Harvey Milk," in Queer Words/Queer Images: Communication and the Construction of Homosexuality, ed. R. Jeffrey Ringer (New York: NYU Press, 1994): 7-29; Karen A. Foss, "Harvey Milk and the Queer Rhetorical Situation," in Queering Public Address: Sexualities and American Historical Discourse, ed. Charles E. Morris III (Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 2007): 74-92; Jason Edward Black & Charles E. Morris III, "Harvey Milk, 'You've Got to Have Hope' (24 June 1977)" Voices of Democracy Journal (National Endowment for the Humanities) 6 (2011): 63-82. 108 Harvey Milk, "Milk Forum: You Draw the Conclusion," Bay Area Reporter, August 4, 1977, 8. 109 For discussion of the 1977 campaign, see George Mendenhall, "Finding the Answers: Milk vs. Stokes in the Castro," Bay Area Reporter, December 9, 1976, 13-14; Harvey Milk, "Milk Forum: Haight Street: A New Direction or Back Behind the Iron Gates?" Bay Area Reporter, October 13, 1977, 14; Wayne Friday, "Milk for Supervisor District 5, Bay Area Reporter, October 27, 1977, 16-17; Harvey Milk, "Milk Forum: Running against a Moralist," Bay Area Reporter, October 27, 1977, 20; Shilts, The Mayor of Castro Street, chapter 11; Callis, From Castro Street to City Hall, chapter 5; Clendinen and Nagourney, Out for Good, chapter 24; Anne Kronenberg, "Everybody Needed Milk," in Out in the Castro: Desire, Promise, Activism, ed. Winston Leyland (San Francisco: Leyland Publications, 2002): 37-43; Shilts, "The Life and Death of Harvey Milk," 36-39; Wong, "Harvey," 19-25; Bill Sievert, "Divided They Stand-The Milk-Stokes Split," The Advocate, July 13, 1977, 13; Jerry Burns, "17 Wage Wide-Open Battle for District 5 Supervisor," San Francisco Chronicle, November 4, 1977, 4. 110 Harry Britt, "Harvey Milk as I Knew Him," 80. 111 Quoted in Shilts, The Mayor of Castro Street, 183. 112 Harvey Milk, "Milk Forum: Victory Statement," Bay Area Reporter, November 10, 1977, 77. 113 Quoted in Shilts, The Mayor of Castro Street, 190. For discussion of Milk's inauguration and opening acts and speeches as supervisor, see Shilts, The Mayor of Castro Street, chapter 12; Randy Alfred, "Milk Sworn In: SF Gay Goes to City Hall," GAYVOTE (San Francisco Gay Democratic Club newsletter) 1 (January 1978): 1, 4, found in James C. Hormel Gay & Lesbian Center of the San Francisco Public Library, GLC35, Milk-Smith Collection, Box 4, Series 2a. G. 114 In his "Milk Forum," he declared, "The coalition of minorities-including the feminist and Gay movements-are starting to join on all issues that affect anyone in the coalition." Harvey Milk, "Milk Forum: The Jarvis-Gann Initiative" Bay Area Reporter, March 30, 1978, 14. 115 Kronenberg, "Everybody Needed Milk," 41. For an account of Milk's work in City Hall during 1978, see Emery, "Appendix: Milk's Supervisorial Activities," The Harvey Milk Interviews, 317-339; Bruce Pettit, "Anne Kronenberg & Dick Pabich: Harvey Milk's Dynamic Aides Speak Out," Bay Area Reporter, March 2, 1978, 8-9; Bruce Pettit, "Milk's Last Three Months," Bay Area Reporter, July 20, 1978, 7. 116 See Shilts, The Mayor of Castro Street, chapter 12. 117 Pettit, "Anne Kronenberg and Dick Pabich"; John Geluardi, "Dan White's Motive More about Betrayal than Homophobia," San Francisco Weekly (January 30, 2008): http://www.sfweekly.com/2008-01-30/news/white-in-milk/4/#. See also Mike Weiss, Double Play: The Hidden Passions Behind the Double Assassination of George Moscone and Harvey Milk (1984; San Francisco: Vince Emery Productions, 2010). 118 Shilts, The Mayor of Castro Street, 193. 119 Wong, "Harvey," 29, 30. 120 Briggs' campaign against gay teachers was particularly appalling because ideology, such as Bryant's evangelicalism, did not motivate him. Reporter Robert Shrum wrote, "Briggs recalled that, 'Reagan was going down the tubes in 1976 until he came up with Panama as an issue.' So Briggs came up with his own issue, 'the homosexual issue,' rating it 'the hottest social issue since Reconstruction.'" Although Briggs claimed "it was when he flew to Miami to volunteer for Bryant's crusade that the Lord inspired him with the Briggs Initiative," his inspiration, as Shilts argued, likely came rather from his will to power: "it seemed highly doubtful from the start that John Briggs ever really had anything personal against gays. He was just running for governor. 'It's just politics. . . just politics.'" After the gubernatorial prospects faded, Briggs pressed on with Prop 6 because it likely represented his last best hope for the political limelight. Shrum, "Gay-Baiting in California: Sexual Politics in the Classroom," New Times, September 4, 1978, 23-24; Shilts, The Mayor of Castro Street, 157-58, 241. 121 Quoted in Clendinen and Nagourney, Out for Good, 381. 122 Shilts, The Mayor of Castro Street, 239. 123 Quoted in Shrum, "Gay-Baiting in the Classroom," 22. 124 Shilts, The Mayor of Castro Street, 242. 125 For a discussion of Holocaust rhetoric in the history of the struggle for gay rights, see Arlene Stein, "Whose Memories? Whose Victimhood? Contests for the Holocaust Frame in Recent Social Movement Discourse," Sociological Perspectives 41 (1998): 519-540. Throughout his career Milk used Hitler, the Nazis, and Jewish traitors as analogies and rhetorical frames in denouncing his political enemies. In addition to Document #10 on police brutality, note these examples: "As [Anita Bryant] gains support (and she is) she takes stronger and stronger anti-gay stands. Reminds me of how Hitler rose to power by using the Jews as bait. I don't see Bryant becoming another Hitler, but the tactic is similar. Hitler even had many Jews on his side at first, defending his 'rights'"; "Letting [Anita Bryant] get away with her bigotry and hatred is not too far from letting the Nixons and the Hitlers get away with their sicknesses"; "Hitler lives on in Briggs." Milk, "Leave Anita Alone?"; Milk, "Pools within Pools"; Harvey Milk, "Milk Forum: Jarvis-Gann," Bay Area Reporter, June 22, 1978, 12. 126 Shilts, The Mayor of Castro Street, 229. For description of a typical debate, see for example Jean Dickinson, "Briggs-Milk Debate: Scoring Points in WC [Walnut Creek]," Contra Costa Times, September 17, 1978, 1, found in James C. Hormel Gay & Lesbian Center of the San Francisco Public Library, GLC35, Milk-Smith Collection, Box 26, 73-78 Clippings. For discussion of the October 11, 1978 televised debate hosted by KQED in San Francisco, in which Milk was partnered with San Francisco State University Speech Professor and lesbian-feminist activist Sally Miller Gearhart, see Raul Ramirez, "Verbal, Physical Scuffling Mark Debate on Prop. 6," San Francisco Examiner, October 12, 1978, 10; Jones, Stitching a Revolution, 49-51. 127 Clendinen and Nagourney, Out for Good, 381-390; Shrum, "Gay-Baiting in the Classroom," 24-27. 128 Quoted in Shilts, The Mayor of Castro Street, 250. 129 Warren Hinckle, "Dan White's Final Solution," Inquiry Magazine, October 29, 1979: 8-20; See Shilts, The Mayor of Castro Street, chapters 15-18; Weiss, Double Play; The Times of Harvey Milk, dir. Rob Epstein (New York: New York Films, 1984); Warren Hinckle, Gayslayer! The Story of How Dan White Killed Harvey Milk and George Moscone and Got Away with Murder (San Francisco: Silver Dollar Books, 1985); Stryker and Van Buskirk, Gay by the Bay; Jones, Stitching a Revolution; Leyland, Out in the Castro; de Jim, San Francisco's Castro; William Lipsky, Gay and Lesbian San Francisco (San Francisco: Arcadia Publishing, 2006); Milk: A Pictorial History of Harvey Milk (New York: Newmarket Press, 2009). 130 As a friendly amendment to Castiglia and Reed's insightful reading of the "metamemory" in Milk, by which they mean intertextual layers of the past operative in the film, including Epstein's The Times of Harvey Milk, we would emphasize that the invaluable countermemory initiatives they prescribe entail multiple and complex rhetorical challenges, including the inventional work of creating inducements to memory in the first place (gay film qua gay film cannot be presumed sufficient, however sexy the trailer), and providing the requisite contextual scaffolding (too often disparagingly understood as "history lessons") that would enable cross-generational engagement through memory literacies. We are not convinced, for instance, that the intertextual materials Castiglia and Reed rightly identify would be legible as such for many audience members. We continue to puzzle over the vexing question of how scholar activists, what we term "archival queers," without seeming patronizing or pedantic while being collaborative, would enhance interest in a memory text and offer enough backstory or "annotation" to make the text meaningful beyond basic narrative conventions or facile hero/martyr tales-not that Milk is guilty of either. Christopher Castiglia and Christopher Reed, If Memory Serves: Gay Men, AIDS, and the Promise of the Queer Past (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012), Introduction and chapter 1, 66-69. See also Charles E. Morris III, "Archival Queer," Rhetoric and Public Affairs 9.1 (2006): 145-151; K. J. Rawson and Charles E. Morris III, "Queer Archives/Archival Queers," in Re/Theorizing Writing Histories of Rhetoric, ed. Michelle Baliff (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, forthcoming 2012). 131 Mathias Danbolt, "Touching History: Archival Relations in Queer Art and Theory," in Lost and Found: Queerying the Archive, eds. Mathias Danbolt, Jane Rowley, and Louise Wolthers (Copenhagen: Nikolaj, Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center, 2009), 27, 28. 132 Marco R. della Cava, "The Timing Finally is Right for 'Milk,'" USA Today, November 24, 2008, 2D. See also Jesse McKinley, "Back to the Ramparts in California," New York Times, November 2, 2008, 5; Michael Cieply, "Activists Seek to Tie 'Milk' to a Campaign for Gay Rights," New York Times, November 22, 2008, C1; Matt Budd, "'Milk': We Need Him Now More Than Ever," The Huffington Post, November 26, 2008: http://www.alternet.org/story/108847/; Michael Martin, "The Resurrection of Harvey Milk," The Advocate, November 18, 2008, 33-44. 133 Edward Guthmann, "Harvey Milk' Dilemma: Critical Raves, But Apathetic Audiences," Advocate, February 5, 1985, 34; John Cloud, "Harvey Milk: The Pioneer," Time, June 14, 1999, 183. 134 John Cloud, "Why Milk Is Still Fresh," Advocate, November 10, 1998, 33. 135 Cleve Jones, "Support Milk Memorial Project," Bay Area Reporter, November 24, 2005. For an interesting corollary, see Josh Getlin's lament about the dimming memory of George Moscone on the 30th anniversary of the assassinations, and on the eve of Milk's premiere. "Remembering George Moscone," Los Angeles Times, November 23, 2008: http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-getlin23-2008nov23,0,1670616.story 136 FitzGerald, "The Castro," 80. 137 George Chauncey, Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940 (New York: Basic Books, 1994), 283. See also Greg Vogel, "Gay Historians: Remembrance of Rich Heritage," Advocate West, July 23, 1986, 8. 138 Mark Leno, "Senate Bill No. 48," December 13, 2010: http://info.sen.ca.gov/pub/11-12/bill/sen/sb_0001-0050/sb_48_bill_20101213_introduced.pdf; Gerry Shih, "Clashes Pit Parents vs. Gay-Friendly Curriculums in Schools," New York Times March 4, 2011; Susan Ferriss, "New Bill Requires Gay History in Textbooks to Fight Bullying, The Sacramento Bee, December 13, 2010: http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2010/12/sen-leno-hopes-gay-history-bil.html (Accessed March 11, 2011) 139 Karen O'Camb, "FAIR Education Act and Gender Nondiscrimination Act Pass Key California Legislative Committees," LGBT/POV, April 6, 2011: http://www.lgbtpov.com/2011/04/fair-education-act-and-gender-nondiscrimination-act-pass-key-california-legislative-committees/; Jennifer Medina, "California May Require Teaching of Gay History," New York Times, April 15, 2011: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/16/us/16schools.html?_r=2&scp=3&sq=gay&st=cse (Accessed March 23, 2011); Matthew S. Matthew S. Bajko, "California Schools Already Teaching Gay History" Bay Area Reporter, April 21, 2011: http://www.ebar.com/news/article.php?sec=news&article=5645 (Accessed April 25, 2011). For comments in response to Medina's article posted on Richelle Carey's HLN Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/RichelleCareyHLN?sk=app_2309869772#!/RichelleCareyHLN/posts/204968936191113 (Accessed March 23, 2011); Stacy Teicher Khadaroo, "Could California Lead Nation in Teaching of Gay History in Schools?" Christian Science Monitor, July 7, 2011: http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Education/2011/0707/Could-California-lead-nation-in-teaching-of-gay-history-in-schools; "California Governor Signs Fair Education Act, Requiring Schools to Add LGBT History to Curriculum," towleroad.com: http://www.towleroad.com/2011/07/breaking-california-governor-signs-fair-education-act-requiring-schools-to-add-lgbt-history-to-curri.html. (Accessed July 14, 2011) 140 Huma Kahn, "Politics of Education: New Texas Social Sciences Curriculum Standards Fraught with Ideology, Critics Say, ABC News, May 21, 2010: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/Media/education-texas-social-sciences-curriculum-standards-stirs-nationwide/story?id=10700720. (Accessed March 23, 2011) 141 Lyanne Melendez, "Opponents Working to Repeal 'Fair Education Act,'" KGO-TV San Francisco: http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/education&id=8572972 (Accessed April 30, 2012); Seth Hemmelgarn, "Repeal Effort of California's FAIR Education Act Cleared for Signatures," Bay Area Reporter, February 24, 2012: http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2012/02/repeal-effort-of-californias-fair-education-act-cleared-for-signatures/ (Accessed April 30, 2012). 142 Miranda Bryant, "Anti-Gay Bullies Are Taught a Lesson or Two," The Evening Standard (London), October 26, 2010: http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23891416-anti-gay-bullies-are-taught-a-lesson-or-two.do. (Accessed March 23, 2011) On bullying, see Rebecca Haskell and Brian Burtch, Get That Freak: Homophobia and Transphobia in High Schools (Black Point, Nova Scotia: Fernwod Publishing, 2010); Bullied, dir. Bill Brummel, 2010; Bully, dir. Lee Hirsch, 2012; The Queering Education Research Institute: http://www.queeringeducation.org/. 143 Rebecca Cathcart, "Boy's Killing, Labeled a Hate Crime, Stuns a Town," New York Times, February 23, 2008: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/23/us/23oxnard.html. (Accessed March 11, 2011). 144 Dustin Lance Black, "Academy Award Acceptance Speech," February 22, 2009, www.glad.org:http://www.glaad.org/2009/02/22/dustin-lance-blacks-moving-acceptance-speech/. 145 Amy Graff, "The Mommy Files: Is San Francisco's Castro Neighborhood Appropriate for Young Kids?" SFGATE (San Francisco Chronicle): http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/sfmoms/detail?entry_id=86303; http://www.sfgate.com/g/acrobat/2011/04/05/DearTownSchoolFamilies.PDF. For similar efforts, see Bajko, "California Schools Already Teaching Gay History." 146 Brewster Ely, "Dear Town School Parents and Community," April 5, 2011, in Amy Graff, "The Mommy Files: Is San Francisco's Castro Neighborhood Appropriate for Young Kids?" SFGATE (San Francisco Chronicle): http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/sfmoms/detail?entry_id=86303; http://www.sfgate.com/g/acrobat/2011/04/05/DearTownSchoolFamilies.PDF 147 Stuart Biegel, The Right to Be Out: Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in America's Public Schools (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2010), 146. See also Stuart Biegel, "Teachable Moments," The Advocate (April 2011): 20-21; Therese Quinn and Erica R. Meiners, Flaunt It! Queers Organizing for Public Education and Justice (New York: Peter Lang, 2009); Nelson M. Rodriguez and William F. Pinar, eds., Queering Straight Teachers: Discourse and Identity in Education (New York: Peter Lang, 2007); Eric Rofes, A Radical Rethinking of Sexuality and Schooling: Status Quo or Status Queer (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2005); William F. Pinar, ed., Queer Theory in Education (Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 1998). For the lesson plans in GLBT history provided by GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network): http://www.glsen.org/cgi-bin/iowa/all/library/record/2461.html?state=tools&type=educator 148 James F. Mills, "Got Milk? Filmmaker Creates a Harvey Milk Documentary," West Hollywood Patch, June 13, 2012: http://westhollywood.patch.com/articles/got-milk-young-filmmaker-creates-a-harvey-milk-documentary. 149 Kevin K. Kumashiro, Troubling Education: Queer Activism and Antioppressive Pedagogy (New York: RoutledgeFalmer, 2002); Kevin K. Kumashiro, Against Common Sense: Teaching and Learning Toward Social Justice (New York: RoutledgeFalmer, 2004). 150 Ely, "Dear Town School Parents and Community." 151 Stephen O. Murray, "Components of Gay Community in San Francisco," in Gay Culture in America: Essays from the Field, ed. Gilbert Herdt (Boston: Beacon Press, 1992), 115-116. See also Robert N. Bellah, Richard Madsen, William M. Sullivan, Ann Swidler, and Steven T. Tipton, Habits of the Heart (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985), 153-154. 152 See JosΘ Esteban Mu±oz, Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity (New York: New York University Press, 2009. 153 Horacio N. Rocque Ramφrez, "A Living Archive of Desire: Teresita la Campesina and the Embodiment of Queer Latino Community Histories," Archive Stories: Facts, Fictions, and the Writing of History, ed. Antoinette Burton (Durham: Duke University Press, 2005), 130.
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