Harvey Milk, California, 1977
Born May 22, 1930
Assassinated November 27, 1978
City and County Board of Supervisors
San Francisco, California
Elected November 1977
News article about Harvey Milk
How Milk Viewed Possible Assassination
by Maitland Zane
San Francisco Chronicle, November 28, 1978
A political testament in which Supervisor Harvey Milk seemed to foreshadow his own tragic death was released last evening by his friend, attorney John Wahl.
Wahl said that last November, shortly after his election as the city’s first openly gay supervisor, Milk was “aware of the possibilities of danger to any public figure who takes unpopular points of view” and made a tape “in case of just such a tragic event as occurred today.”
In the section of the tape recording released by Wahl, Milk said:
“I know that when a person is assassinated after they have achieved victory, there are several tendencies. One is to have some people go crazy in the streets, angry and frustrated, and the other is to have a big show or splash.
“Naturally I wanted neither.
“I cannot prevent anybody from getting angry or mad or frustrated. I can only hope they’ll turn that anger and frustration and madness into something positive so that hundreds will step forward, so that gay doctors will come out, gay lawyers, gay judges, gay bankers, gay architects… I hope that every professional gay will just say, ‘Enough!’ come forward and tell everybody, ‘Wear a sign, let the world know’…
“These are my strong requests knowing that it could happen. Hoping it doesn’t… and if it does, I think I’ve already achieved something.
“I think that it’s been worth it.”
And asked why Milk would make such a tape, Richard Pabich, an aide to the slain supervisor, said Milk “believed there was a real threat of something happening to him.
“He was aware he was a very controversial person. We got a lot of hate mail.”
Wahl said that Harvey Milk was “of course a gay man. His life was dedicated to full equality for gay people.”
“As a gay person who fought on Harvey’s side in the movement for freedom which he spearheaded,” Wahl said, “I know that Harvey will be remembered for his independence, his dedication, his inexhaustible energy and his concern for other people’s feelings.”
Wahl added: “You never had to guess where Harvey Milk stood. If you disagreed with him, he challenged you to think out your position clearly.
“He was willing and unafraid to ask the questions no one else would ask. He was willing to take risks. He cared about people.”