Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Remembering Harvey Milk (May 22, 1930 — November 27, 1978)

Thirty years ago, Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in the United States, was murdered alongside San Francisco mayor George Moscone. Milk, a new film about Harvey Milk’s life and murder will be released this November. Directed by Gus Van Sant and featuring Sean Penn, the film recounts the hate crime assassination perpetrated by Dan White, a former city supervisor of San Francisco.




In the summer of 2006, Unfinished Lives project director Stephen V. Sprinkle visited the San Francisco Bay Area to conduct research about anti-LGBT hate crimes victims. His work included research about Harvey Milk. Sprinkle shares some of his recollections from the trip:

“On my first major trip to study LGBT hate crimes murder victims, I traveled to Gay Mecca, the Castro in San Francisco. Though this was one of several visits to Castro Street through the years, the summer of 2006 was different. It was the year I met Harvey.



“Gay life is as vibrant as those who live it, and the Castro is Ground Zero for all LGBT people thanks to Harvey, the ‘Mayor of Castro Street.’ On my way to the HRC Store, I had walked right by Harvey Milk’s camera shop without noticing it. A friendly clerk at the HRC named Fidel pointed me back there, and I walked back across the street and down the block until I stood facing the closed and vacant shop at 575 Castro Street. Down at my feet was a bronze plaque commemorating Harvey’s shop and home.



“I looked up and saw a mural of Harvey standing in the window, looking down from the second floor at the beloved community he represented as the first openly gay person elected to a major office in America. He and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated in City Hall by Dan White, a disgruntled former city supervisor, on November 27, 1978.



“Now, thanks to Gus Van Zandt, Harvey will be remembered in a major motion picture. It is only fitting that Sean Penn, one of our finest actors, will portray him on the silver screen he so loved. Enjoy the trailer, and remember Harvey Milk with gratitude.”

September 11, 2008 - Posted by | Anglo Americans, California, gay men, gun violence, Monuments and markers, Politics, Popular Culture, Remembrances |

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