Report: Milk stamp set for 2014
by Matthew S. Bajko
The United States Postal Service will reportedly release a stamp featuring the late gay San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk in 2014. It would mark the first time a stamp has been issued specifically to honor an LGBT person.
Linn's Stamp News, a weekly publication that covers the mail service, is reporting in its May 27 issue that Milk was among the special stamps chosen for next year by the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee during its closed door meetings earlier this year.
An anonymous source sent Linn's a copy of the panel's January 31 and February 1 meeting minutes where 2014 stamps were debated and chosen. It included a notation that the minutes regarding the Milk stamp, along with a number of other choices, had been approved at an April 13 meeting.
Reporter Bill McAllister, who provided the Bay Area Reporter with a copy of the article posted to the website of the subscription-only publication May 13, cautioned in the story that "there is no certainty" that the Milk or other listed stamps would be issued in 2014. The documents McAllister was provided, nonetheless, list the Milk stamp for release in May next year.
Postal Service spokesman Roy Betts, asked last week about the status of the Milk stamp, told the B.A.R. the agency has "neither confirmed nor denied what the line-up will be for 2014."
He said Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe would finalize the list of 2014 stamps, which normally number 30 per year, sometime in late August or September. According to Linn's, others set to be posthumously celebrated with their own postage include actress Elizabeth Taylor, Apple founder Steve Jobs, and chef Julia Child.
In 2010 Milk's openly gay nephew, Stuart Milk, told the B.A.R. that the Postal Service had contacted his family that year to inquire about his famous uncle and asked about upcoming milestones. He did not return the B.A.R.'s request for comment this week.
Some had speculated the stamp could be issued this year, as November 27 will be the 35th anniversary of the death of Milk and former San Francisco Mayor George Moscone by disgruntled former supervisor Dan White.
On Wednesday, May 22, California celebrated Harvey Milk Day, as the unofficial state holiday falls on Milk's birthday. He would have been 83 years old; it is possible the Postal Service could decide to release a Milk stamp in 2015 to mark his 85th birthday.
Friends and admirers of Milk, the first openly gay person elected to public office in California when he won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977, have been trying to convince the Postal Service to release a Milk stamp for years.
In 2005 the city's Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution calling on the postmaster general to issue a Milk stamp. Daniel Drent, an openly gay man from Cincinnati, revived the effort in 2009 and created a Facebook page to gather support.
The idea for a Milk stamp dates back to the late 1980s, shortly after Milk's assassination in 1978. Jim Leff, a gay artist who knew Milk, painted a mockup Milk stamp that he ended up selling decades later to a San Francisco couple.
His postal artwork was adopted by and adorns the website for the Harvey Milk Stamp National Campaign. Launched four years ago by the Imperial Court Council and the Harvey B. Milk Foundation, the effort has attracted support from Hollywood to Washington, D.C.
An emailed request for comment to the campaign went unanswered; several of its honorary chairs told the B.A.R. this week they had no update about the status of the Milk stamp.
According to the campaign's website, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino was the latest official to send the stamp advisory committee a letter, dated April 25, in support of the Milk stamp. Lesbian Houston Mayor Anise D. Parker sent in a letter February 20.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) lent her support in 2010, and the San Francisco supervisors adopted a second resolution that year asking that the Milk stamp be issued.
For more information, visit http://www.impcourt.org/icis/info/HarveyMilk/index.html.