Today, as we honor civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., it seems appropriate to think again about another civil rights leader whose legacy lives on in the cause of another historically marginalized segment of our population.
I’m talking about San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official in a major U.S. city who was assassinate in November 1978.
Since I first posted a story, saying that I noticed a Walnut Creek school gymnasium making a cameo appearance in the new Milk biopic, Milk, starring Sean Penn, I’ve received emails from current and former WC residents trying to track down the exact location of that gymnasium.
The only thing I had initially been able to determine is that Milk came to Walnut Creek to debate conservative state Senator John Briggs on Proposition 6, a 1978 measure that would have required public school districts to fire teachers and other employees who are gay or who openly support gay rights. The debate took place in September 1978.
Jonathan Butterworth, a 1998 Northgate graduate who now lives in Seattle, went so far as to spend several hours in the University of Washington library, going through microfiche of old San Francisco Chronicle articles. He sent me images of two articles of Chronicle stories, which I posted here.
Now, Amy, another Northgate alum and current Walnut Creek resident—who describes herself as another "crazy in suburbia" mom—sent me screen shots of the 1984 Academy Award-winning documentary The Times of Harvey Milk (which, by the way, is available for free online viewing on on Hulu.com) The screen shots come from TV coverage of the debate which was broadcast live in the Bay Area, and which were used in the documentary.
Thanks, Amy, for sharing these images and letting me post them.