Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag by Rob Sanders, illustrated by Steven Salerno
PRIDE: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag
written by Rob Sanders
illustrated by Steven Salerno
Purchased from Barnes & Noble
With simple elegance, Sanders and Salerno tell the story of a man with a dream and a symbol of hope. Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag begins with this quote from Milk, "You have to give them hope. Hope for a better world, hope for a better tomorrow. . ." Sanders tells readers that Milk dreamed that "everyone, even gay people, would have equality." And, as one of the first openly gay people elected to political office, Harvey Milk wanted to give people a symbol - a symbol of hope, a symbol that would show the world how they feel and who they are - to carry during the march to protest inequality and unfair laws that was held on June 25, 1978 in San Francisco, CA. Harvey turned to his friend, Gilbert Baker, and a flag, originally with eight colors, was designed.
The debut of the flag at what was called the "Gay Freedom Day" Parade (Sanders never uses the terms "gay rights movement" or LGBTQIA+ rights movement in the body of the book) is followed by the devastating assassination of Harvey Milk and George Moscone, mayor of San Francisco. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, the flag remained a symbol of the movement and, as the colors changed over the years, the symbolism of the flag - Equality, Hope, Unity, Pride - and the number of people who openly identify with it continued to grow and spread all over the world. From the mile-long Rainbow Flag Baker designed for the 25th Anniversary of Stonewall in 1994 to the lighting of the White House in the colors of the Rainbow Flag on on the night of June 26, 2015, the day that the Supreme Court ruled that gay couples have the right to get married, Sanders shares moments of triumph for the LGBTQIA+ community (although doesn't include revisions of the flag matching identities often excluded from the movement) and the Rainbow Flag, along with quotes from Milk, ending with these words, "Equality. Pride. Hope. Love. Harvey's dream became a flag for us all."
Back matter includes biographical notes and timelines for Harvey Milk, and the Rainbow Flag as well as suggestions for further reading and photographs. I was especially sad to learn that Gilbert Baker passed away in 2017 at the age of sixty-five.