Harvey moved to San Francisco in the beginning of the ‘seventies and took over a photo shop, named “given”, in the Castro area after his uncle. Now, Castro was already then known as a favorite haunt for people of indeterminate sexual inclinations, only barely tolerated and far from accepted by the broad citizenship of San Francisco. Harvey organized the motley crew of alternatively inclined, residing in the area at that time, and formed it into a formidable political machine, rendering his constituents respectable in the process. His success as politician was underpinned by Mayor George Moscone, a gifted politician who craftily used minorities to boost his own career. As an aside, George won his first election with only a narrow margin, and would have lost it without the support of the “Peoples’ Temple”, headed by the ominous Jim Jones.
Harvey held the position of Supervisor only one year, from November 1977 to November 1978. At the latter date he was shot to death, together with George, by a fellow Supervisor. His death shook the gay community. A procession of more than THIRTYTHOUSAND people, with candles in hand, slowly winded from the Castro area to City Hall at the day of remembrance. As you may understand, his deeds and “martyrdom” had a lasting impact on the gay community, greatly increasing its self-respect and –reliance and introducing a sense of rightful belonging and citizenship, which soon spread across the country and, indeed, across the world. This is over and above an increased sense of acceptance and tolerance in the broader group of citizens.
I have for some time now nurtured the feeling of letting my readers down, by concentrating too eagerly on Campus events, neglecting more general tourist attractions in the Bay Area. So, when reading about the Milk Day in the news I decided to make a trip to San Francisco, combining a visit to the Castro area with a more traditional walk through the usual tourist haunts of San Francicso.
Once the decision was made, the implementation was immediate. On early morning of 22 May I walked briskly to the BART station at Ashby; the train was already waiting for me on the platform, and without further ado I was rushed under the Bay to Mission Station, where a blue sky with cotton-like clouds was greeting me, a condition seldom experienced in Frisco at this time of the year.