Celebrating Harvey Milk Day

Today Harvey Milk would have been 83. Instead, this gay Jewish hero, who was cut down in his prime, remains a vaunted icon of gay rights across the globe. On his birthday, now known as Harvey Milk Day, we celebrate his work, life, and lasting legacy. At Keshet, we’re honoring his life and achievements by bringing you some rare photos of this pioneer.

After a career that included the Navy, high school teaching, and time on Wall Street, Milk moved to San Francisco. By 1973, he launched his first run for City Supervisor – and lost. In 1977, after his third attempt, he won the seat, becoming the first openly gay man ever elected to major public office in America. Harvey Milk was assassinated in 1978. His legacy of working for the civil rights of all and building coalitions among diverse groups continues to inspire and inform social justice work today. Enjoy this photo essay in honor of Harvey Milk, and check out events happening near you on the Harvey Milk Day website.

1975: Harvey at opening of 1975 Campaign. Estate of Harvey Milk. James C. Hormel Gay & Lesbian Center San Francisco Public Library.

1975: Harvey at opening of 1975 Campaign. Estate of Harvey Milk. James C. Hormel Gay & Lesbian Center San Francisco Public Library.

1942: Harvey with brother Robert at Coney Island. James C. Hormel Gay & Lesbian Center, San Francisco Public Library

1942: Harvey with brother Robert at Coney Island. James C. Hormel Gay & Lesbian Center, San Francisco Public Library

Between 1953-54: Harvey and friend in the Navy

Between 1953-54: Harvey and friend in the Navy

Harvey Milk Giving a toast at a family wedding

Harvey Milk giving a toast at a family wedding.

1974: Harvey Milk on stage at Gay Day, San Francisco Civic Center. Don Eckert, James C. Hormel Gay & Lesbian Center, San Francisco Public Library.

1974: Harvey Milk on stage at Gay Day, San Francisco Civic Center. Don Eckert, James C. Hormel Gay & Lesbian Center, San Francisco Public Library.

1978: Flowers and San Francisco Examiner at City Hall steps the day after the assassinations. James C. Hormel Gay & Lesbian Center, San Francisco Public Library.

1978: Flowers and San Francisco Examiner at City Hall steps the day after the assassinations. James C. Hormel Gay & Lesbian Center, San Francisco Public Library.

Between 1972-78: Harvey in Castro. Camera: James C. Hormel Gay & Lesbian Center, San Francisco Public Library.

Between 1972-78: Harvey in Castro. Camera: James C. Hormel Gay & Lesbian Center, San Francisco Public Library.

LGBT Jewish Heroes poster Harvey Milk

LGBT Jewish Heroes poster

You can get your own Harvey Milk poster to celebrate Harvey Milk Day as part of Keshet’s LGBT Jewish Heroes project. (20% discount on the series today. Use code: HMD at checkout.)

Special thanks to the James C. Hormel Gay & Lesbian Center San Francisco Public Library for access to these wonderful photos.

Posted on May 22, 2013

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