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Fla. postmaster issues Harvey Milk stamps
by Matthew C. Clark
2012-12-05

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A commemorative Harvey Milk private local post stamp was issued Nov. 27 on the 34th anniversary of the late, first openly gay politician's assassination—and Panama City, Fla., postmaster Douglas Sandler created the stamp. A stamp collector, Sandler said h is interested in honoring historic individuals and renewing the public's interest in stamp collecting.

"I want to make sure he's honored correctly," Sandler said. "A lot of people don't know who his is, and to me that doesn't make any sense."

Milk was assassinated Nov. 27, 1978, after serving nearly a year as the first openly gay member of San Francisco's Board of Supervisors. He was known as "The Mayor of Castro Street." Known for his political savvy and coalition-building, Milk successfully engineered a strike against Coors Beers in San Francisco gay bars in support of the Teamsters Union.

While serving as a city supervisor, he successfully passed a gay-rights ordinance for the city. Dan White, a former member of the board, killed Milk along with the late mayor of San Francisco George Moscone. Individuals outraged by what they saw as a light sentenced started riots in San Francisco (events known as the White Night Riots) in 1979.

"There's not many people who are willing to stand up for their ideals and, unfortunately, give their lives to them," Sandler said.

The stamp is a valid private local post stamp, which many stamp enthusiasts and collectors make every year. In order to be used in mailings it will still need to be accompanied with national postage, Sandler explained.

Sandler says he has wanted to introduce a new generation to stamp collecting after saying he noticed interest has been dying off. It is his hope that this private stamp will encourage the government to issue its own official postal stamp honoring Milk. Sandler has previously made stamps honoring Panama City and Tibet. He plans on releasing a similar stamp with an image of Moscone next year.

The first run of the stamps will be without adhesive backing. Individuals wanting to purchase a sheet can visit www.panamacityprivatelocalpost.com .


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