Project Description

Last Words of Harvey Milk

A History of Violence: The Last Words of Harvey Milk, 2018, 5:47 min.
This video was created for A History of Violence exhibition at SOMArts Gallery in 2018 and shown with documents and ephemera from the GLBT Historical Archives in San Francisco.
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“This is Harvey Milk speaking on Friday November 18, 1978. This tape is to be played only in the event of my death by assassination. …I fully realize that a person who stands for what I stand for—an activist, a gay activist—becomes the target or potential target for a person who is insecure, terrified, afraid or very disturbed…. Knowing that I could be assassinated at any moment, at any time, I feel it’s important that some people know my thoughts, and why I did what I did. Almost everything that was done was done with an eye on the gay movement. …I cannot prevent some people from feeling angry and frustrated and mad in response to my death, but I hope they will take the frustration and madness and instead of demonstrating or anything of that type, I would hope that they would take the power and I would hope that five, ten, one hundred, a thousand would rise. I would like to see every gay lawyer, every gay architect come out, stand up and let the world know. That would do more to end prejudice overnight than anybody could imagine. I urge them to do that, urge them to come out. Only that way will we start to achieve our rights. … All I ask is for the movement to continue, and if a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door…”