The Assassination of Harvey Milk

Topics: Harvey Milk, George Moscone, San Francisco Board of Supervisors Pages: 5 (1652 words) Published: November 13, 2010
Celia Fitch
Research paper
The Assassination of Harvey Milk
Harvey Milk was the very first openly gay man to be elected to office in the U.S’, he was elected to San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors in1977. Less than a year after taking office, Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone were murdered. The man who murdered Milk and Mayor Moscone was a political opponent and former member of the Board, Dan White. White climbed through a window at City Hall to avoid the metal detectors downstairs, and went into each man’s office and shot him to death. Milk’s legacy as a martyred hero has inspired many books, plays, and movies. Most recently the 2008 Gus Van Sant film “Milk.”

Harvey Bernard Milk was born on May 22, 1930, in Woodmere, New York. He graduated in 1951 from New York State Teachers College at Albany. He joined the Navy and was honorably discharged in 1955. First he taught high school, and then went to work on Wall Street for Bache and Company in 1963. In the late sixties Harvey began dabbling in off-Broadway theater production, and moved with his lover Jack McKinley to San Francisco. Milk worked in finance until he publicly burned his BankAmericard and was fired. Harvey left Jack and went back to New York in 1970. Two years later with his new lover Scott Smith, Milk decided to give San Francisco another try. Harvey opened a camera store on Castro Street in 1973 called “Castro Camera.” Harvey Milk soon became known as “The Mayor of Castro Street.” He envisioned a path to equal human rights for gay people everywhere. He dedicated himself to lead the community of the Castro District in the struggle to attain that goal. Harvey Milk was an activist, and led many protests and marches in the streets for equal rights for gay people. Harvey Milk had

never intended to enter politics until he moved back to San Francisco in 1972. Gay people have been slandered nationwide, which means a gay official is needed not just for protection, but to set an example for younger gays who say “the system doesn’t work.” Milk’s goal in asserting gay pride through political empowerment was for a universal acceptance of homosexuality as an “alternative lifestyle.” For a universal acceptance of homosexuals as human beings, they must have the same unalienable rights as their heterosexual counter parts. Harvey ran for office three times before he finally won in 1977. Harvey Milk knew that his position as a San Francisco Supervisor advocating gay rights placed him in danger. Hate mail poured into his office. With chilling foresight, Milk made a tape recording on November 18, 1977, instructions for the tape was for it only to be read in the event of his death by assassination. In that tape he says “If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door.” On November 27, 1978 Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated by Dan White, a former supervisor, firefighter, and police officer.

Mayor George Richard Moscone was born in San Francisco, California on November 24, 1929. His father was a prison guard, and his mother was a homemaker. Moscone attended St. Brigids, and then St. Ignatius College Preparatory, where he was an all-city basketball scholar. Then Moscone attended University of California, Hastings College, where he received his law degree. He met and married his wife, Gina Bondanza, in 1954. They went on to have four children. After serving in the U.S. Navy, Moscone started a private practice in 1956. A friend of Moscone was a member of the California State Assembly; he recruited Moscone to run for a seat in 1960 as a Democrat. He lost that race, but went on to win a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1963. While on the board, Moscone was best known for defending the poor, racial minorities, and small business owners. In 1966 Moscone ran for and won a seat in the California State Senate. Moscone was elected by his Democratic party to serve as...
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