An Analysis Of Harvey Milk's Speech

Improved Essays
Source 9 is a speech given by Harvey Milk to his supporters; it contains an anecdote that reveals that there was opposition to the gay rights movement among Christian conservative Americans. The very existence of the source and the reference within the source to Milk’s election to be city supervisor shows that there was widespread acceptance of gay people at this time, despite the opposition. Source 11 is an extract from Justice Thurgood Marshall’s decision on the Bakke case, in which he decided against Bakke, that details the position of black Americans in the late 1970s. The Source argues that black Americans were in a disadvantaged position and that they did not have equality with white people at this time. Source 9 provides some …show more content…
However, the content of the source can be criticised. For example, Milk’s idea that the general American public was becoming more left wing could be countered with Reagan’s election in 1980, as Reagan was Republican and very conservative. The origin of the Source also limits its usefulness. Source 9 was a speech given by Milk to his supporters shortly after his election meaning he was likely to be as positive as possible so as to buoy the spirits of his followers and keep their support. Furthermore, Milk was elected in San Francisco, which in a 1964 Life magazine article was described as the ‘gay capital of America’. So, it is possible that gay people were almost universally accepted in San Francisco in the period 1973-80 but it is equally likely that there were many parts of America, such as in the conservative deep south, where being openly gay was very dangerous, as it ultimately was for Milk himself. The usefulness of Source 9 is further limited by its lack of acknowledgement of change throughout the period. The speech was given in 1978 and regardless of how useful it is concerning the understanding of gay rights in 1978, it tells the historian absolutely nothing about how those rights had changed …show more content…
Source 9 provides the historian with some valuable information on the rights gay people had in 1978, and Source 11 is also useful for investigating the position of black Americans at the time. Neither Source presents much of a balanced view which limits both of them, but it is evident that Source 11 is the most useful of the two Sources. This is because Source 11 is more well-researched and provides more evidence to support its argument while Source 9 is more anecdotal and possibly more provincial. Neither Source addresses the issues of women 's rights, Native American rights or the rights of workers. All of these groups saw some improvement in this period, for example, in 1970 only 43% of women were employed but by 1980, this had risen to 52%. Workers saw legislation passed to protect them, such as the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 which banned discrimination on the basis of disability. Native Americans fought for their rights by forming the American Indian Movement in Minneapolis in 1968. However, all these groups also faced setbacks, such as the continued high rates of poverty among both Native Americans and black Americans while the feminist movement started to fragment which weakened it and reduced its influence. Nevertheless, the historian would not glean any of this from either Source, separately or together, meaning that they are ultimately only narrowly

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    In the 1970s, if you were someone who was interested in the same sex as yourself, you could understand the day by day difficulties of being accepted by society because this was not considered proper. The general views of Americans were very different from the views of Harvey Milk at this time. The actions that Harvey Milk took towards gay rights stood out. In the Mid-1970s, Harvey Milk worked to promote gay rights and for everyone to be equal. Milk was successful in making a change by being the first openly gay man elected into public office and influenced many gays and gay supporters.…

    • 1404 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Harry Hay was a man who was not a force to be recon with due to his colorful record in American historical movements. Harry had strong and meaningful contributions in almost every social movement in American history since his birth. Harry was one of many activists who fought for the American right to be publicly gay only for congress to shut it down. It was at the break of 1951 when congress decided to pass a bill titled "Employment of Homosexuals and Other Sex Perverts in Government". This bill was distributed amongst government officalls which stated that the act of being gay was considered to be a mental illness, a dessees which needed to be dealt with.…

    • 1269 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Be respectful and ask questions if you are confused. Education leads to tolerance. The LGBT+ community deserves acknowledgement in history. For example, the 1980’s AIDS crisis during Reagan’s presidency that was ignored for years because it was mostly gay men who were infected. According to HIV public records, there were about 16,301 deaths before Reagan even mentioned AIDS, showing the homophobic behaviors of our government.…

    • 1248 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Though he was favored in his home state of Massachusetts; there was still everyone else in the world who he wanted to convince. He used the pragmatic style to convince neutral or opposition listeners that were not sure if he would have been a perfect candidate for President of the United States. One of his statements was, “While the so-called religious issue is necessarily and properly the chief topic here tonight; I want to emphasize here from the outset that I believe that we have far more critical issues in the 1960 campaign. The spread of Communism influence until it now festers 90 miles off the coast of Florida, the humiliation treatment of our President and Vice President by those who no longer respect our power, the hungry children I saw in West Virginia, the old people who cannot pay their doctors bill, the families who are forced to give up their farms, and America with too many slums, too fewer schools, and too late…

    • 1690 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Rhetorical Analysis of “Time for Marriage Equality” On April 21, 2015, The Hill newspaper published “Time for Marriage Equality” by Markos Moulitsas. In his article, Moulitsas claims that “the American public has decisively accepted marriage equality.” He gathered information from polls conducted by NBC/Wall Street Journal, CBS, CNN, and Bloomberg, to prove the popular public opinion supports same-sex marriage. In addition, Moulitsas provided quotes from “bigoted” high profile republicans, to prove the contradictions of their claims. He criticized Republicans, saying they are on the “wrong side of public opinion when it comes to the rights of gay Americans.” Moulitsas also accuses them of dismissing logic to justify the indefensible. In…

    • 883 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    For example, the last parade where Harvey goes through after being elected as a supervisor is reenacted by Sean Penn as well. The narrative film, Milk, has depicted Harvey Milk’s life in a more dramatised manner through the performance of professional actor, Sean Penn. Essentially, the film pushes a bit more than the documentary in relating back to the emotional complexity of Harvey’s character. The film is basically like any other narrative film that exaggerates a real life story about a liberal gay man and his struggle to secure a voice within the American politics in the 1970s. Just like The Times of Harvey Milk, this film is also an Oscar-winning…

    • 1102 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Lgbtq Informative Speech

    • 1006 Words
    • 5 Pages

    the credit for that incredible protest, but without Bayard Rustin MLK would not have had that platform to give his historical speech “I had a dream.” Rustin is so relevant because not only was he gay he was openly gay man who put together probably the most impactful movement of that civil rights era. Black LGBTQ history really has impacted us so much more than we know. Thinking about the history one would think that the history is irrelevant, but people like the few examples I have given are far from irrelevant. The history of the black LGBTQ community is so watered down and put to the side because nobody talks about it. I mean, African American history is not really a topic that the education system goes in depth about.…

    • 1006 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Times have changed, and relationships are no longer the same. Although the original laws were based on particular religion, now many more beliefs are widely accepted and it is illogical to continue basing laws off of one religion. The Supreme Court’s recent ruling which legalized same-sex marriage is supported by the fact that being gay is not a choice, no individual has the right to tell another individual who they can marry, and there is statistical evidence that same-sex marriage is beneficial for the economy. According to the American…

    • 1230 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Shilts was the first openly gay journalist who expands on the life of Harvey, the first openly gay politician who became the face of the Gay movement arising in the 1970's in America. Throughout the book Randy brings up countless interviews and journal entries and expands upon Harvey's importance in the political and gay rights scene. Throughout the narrative Shilts does a fantastic job showing the true and personal side of Harvey Milk that the public did not see. This book should be the of…

    • 1581 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The costs of undertaking rational-comprehensive decision-making may themselves exceed the benefits to be gained in improved quality of decisions. Here is why Hillary Clinton is associated with this model, in the past she was asked if she feels that laws should be passed in granting gay marriages, her answer was no, she believed marriage is between a man and a woman. She has stated in the past that “I’m very proud that I was a Goldwater Girl” – Barry Goldwater had a heavy stance on promotion of segregation that was a platform he defended all the way to the 1964 Republican National Convention in San Francisco, in which he famously said, “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.” In that same speech, Goldwater also said “Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue,”-. She has stated that unborn babies do not have constitutional rights and they can be aborted up until the third trimester. However, starting at the beginning of her 2016 Precedential Campaign, she has changed her views on all the the above.…

    • 923 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays