A news site that covers the postal service revealed this week the design for the long anticipated Harvey Milk stamp.
According to Linn’s Stamp News, it features a black and white photo of Milk, the first LGBT person to be elected to public office in San Francisco when he won a seat on the Board of Supervisors in 1977, surrounded by a black background with his name spelled out overhead in white type. In the upper left-hand corner is a vertical band of rainbow colors representing the LGBT community’s pride flag.
Spokesmen with the postal service and the Harvey Milk Foundation did not immediately respond to the Bay Area Reporter’s request for comment this morning (Tuesday, April 1).
Its release is expected to be this May 22, on Milk’s birthday and an unofficial state holiday in California. The 49¢ forever stamp will be the nation’s first to honor an American for their role in the fight for LGBT rights.
Milk was a community activist, business owner in the gay Castro district, and a political columnist for the B.A.R. during the 1970s. His life and that of then-Mayor George Moscone came to a tragic end on the morning of November 27, 1978 when disgruntled former supervisor Dan White killed the progressive politicians in City Hall.
The idea of a Milk stamp first arose in the late 1980s, when San Francisco artist Jim Leff, a gay man who knew Milk, painted a mock-up of what such a stamp could look like. In 2005 San Francisco’s 11-member Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution calling on the U.S. postmaster general to issue one for the gay rights leader.
But it wasn’t until 2009, when the B.A.R. began reporting about a Facebook campaign calling for the creation of a Milk stamp, that the idea began to gain momentum. The coverage spawned a nationwide campaign urging the postal service to issue the stamp.
Four years ago the B.A.R. broke the news that the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee had contacted Milk’s family about a potential stamp. And last May the paper disclosed that leaked documents obtained by Linn’s showed the advisory committee had voted to release the Milk stamp in 2014.
The postal service has yet to say where the issuance ceremony for the Milk stamp will take place. As the B.A.R. reported in March, a local philatelist started a White House petition calling for it to be in San Francisco due to rumors that it will take place in Washington, D.C.
The petition has failed to draw public support, however, netting just 20 signatures as of today. Linn’s March 31 report noted that Washington, D.C. and San Francisco are both under consideration to be the first-day cities for the Milk stamp issuance ceremony.
The site added that dual ceremonies in both cities is also a possibility.