Sunday, December 7, 2008

Remember This?

My, how things have changed, or not. Interesting that the first suspicion was cast on the recently self-destroyed People's Temple movement. We forget how close in time these 2 events were. Interesting that most of the coverage at the time is devoted to Mayor Moscone, and Milk only gets a mention toward the end. Curious that it will be Milk whose memory would loom larger and larger over time, with all due respect to Mayor Moscone. We also forget how conservative San Francisco politics were at one time.
Does anyone outside the right wing press use the term "homosexual" anymore?

I watched this newscast in 1978. I was in my second year of art school in Kansas City. I was 20 at the time.


Here's a picture of Harvey Milk from around 1957

I just came back from Milk. In a word, riveting.
It brought back lots of memories, and not just about Harvey or the '70s.
I remember hearing about Milk and his campaigns against Anita Bryant and the Briggs amendment, and for city supervisor when I was a 20 year old twinky cruising the bars in KC. But, I don't know how I knew about it. There was no gay press there at the time, not even bar rags. I did pay attention to all the Anita Bryant news (it was damn scary back then), so that may be where I heard about him.
The movie made me think of all the marches and political actions I attended for the last 25 years, and all the people I knew and met through them.

I should make a correction.
I was in my FIRST year of art school. I forgot about that year-long stint I did working and going to community college right after I graduated high school.


BillyD said...

I am ashamed to report that I do not have many clear memories of this. I was 19 years old, living in Austin after a childhood spent in Fort Worth, and probably tripping when this happened. I remember the People's Temple story much better; I'm guessing that it got more air time in Texas and I would have had more opportunities to see it. Several years later I moved to San Francisco, and learned about Moscone and Milk then.

Leonardo Ricardo said...

...and I was drunk...drinking the shock/anger away in Los Angeles at a West Hollywood escaping days were numbered however as I got sober on December 13, more hiding, no more running away from the more victim of my own innermost fears!

it's margaret said...

And I was living on Portrero Hill going to school in San Francisco-- I remember the sirens and how the whole city went in to shock--again. Everybody knew somebody who had died with Jim Jones in the jungle....and then this, right in the heart of things.

Hey, another thought --my mom went to school in San Francisco too, during and just after WWII --she used to babysit Diane Feinstein!

Counterlight said...

It seems that for a lot of us -- either then or later -- this was a landmark event, and transformative.

Davis said...

I remember it well, and the film is indeed excellent and Sean Penn magnificent.

JCF said...

I was 16, in high school in Sacramento.

After the Jim Jones' holocaust, the son of a family at my church (St. Michael's Episcopal) committed suicide (it was thought he knew people there, though obviously he had his own problems).

Then this happened.

I haven't seen the movie yet, but I do remember how, at the time, it was said that Dan White's attack was related to homophobia.

I was waaaaaay latent at the time, but even then, I knew how WRONG homophobic hate and discrimination were (e.g., I remember the "Briggs Initiative" which I've heard is featured in the film).

I want to see the movie as soon as I can...

Earthbound Spirit said...

I was a newlywed in the midwest... And I remember Holly Near on TV, singing this at a vigil outside city hall after the murders. (We are a Gentle, Angry People)
She's not singing the original version here, but I've sung it many times over the years (it's in the hymnals at church).

IT said...

I was a high school student in the East bay (JCF and I are the same age). They made an announcement in school. One of the boys started sobbing. I vividly remember Dianne Feinstein's speech. I remember the candlelight vigil, and I remember the riots after Dan White got his "twinkie defense".

(I also remember the Jim Jones deaths--watching the story unwind on the bedtime news on a small black and white TV in my parents' bedroom!)