An Archive of Hope: Harvey Milk's Speeches and Writings

An Archive of Hope: Harvey Milk's Speeches and Writings

An Archive of Hope: Harvey Milk's Speeches and Writings

An Archive of Hope: Harvey Milk's Speeches and Writings

Synopsis

Harvey Milk was one of the first openly and politically gay public officials in the United States, and his remarkable activism put him at the very heart of a pivotal civil rights movement reshaping America in the 1970s. An Archive of Hope is Milk in his own words, bringing together in one volume a substantial collection of his speeches, columns, editorials, political campaign materials, open letters, and press releases, culled from public archives, newspapers, and personal collections.

The volume opens with a foreword from Milk's friend, political advisor, and speech writer Frank Robinson, who remembers the man who "started as a Goldwater Republican and ended his life as the last of the store front politicians" who aimed to "give 'em hope" in his speeches. An illuminating introduction traces GLBTQ politics in San Francisco, situates Milk within that context, and elaborates the significance of his discourse and memories both to 1970s-era gay rights efforts and contemporary GLBTQ worldmaking.

Excerpt

An Archive of Hope is about Harvey Milk and gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer (GLBTQ) memory and history. We believe that glbtq pasts, such as the multifaceted configurations of Milk, are invaluable and underutilized as the inventional resources for glbtq well-being, relationships, communities, culture, politics, and movement in the present and future.

This is easier espoused than enacted. Historically and presently, numerous constraints and disincentives have made inhabiting and mobilizing glbtq pasts very difficult, and in some instances, impossible. One ongoing challenge concerns the where of glbtq history and memory, where it can be found and how it is marked or unmarked; the term archive in this context should signify anything but ample, obvious, accessible, sanctioned. and we say this as people in awe of the gains made by glbtq collectors, archivists, librarians, historical societies, and museums in the United States. in an important sense, the more vexing challenge is what we might call the please of glbtq history and memory, that is, the will and desire for the past. the challenges come from a systemic problem (rarely if ever are glbtq history and memory encountered in schools), a communal problem (indifference to glbtq history and memory is acculturated), and a rhetorical problem (inducements to glbtq history and memory require much more attention to appeal and audience).

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