Hope Speech | Study Guide

Harvey Milk

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Course Hero. "Hope Speech Study Guide." Course Hero. 1 Nov. 2019. Web. 22 Sep. 2023. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Hope-Speech/>.

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Course Hero. (2019, November 1). Hope Speech Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved September 22, 2023, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Hope-Speech/

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Course Hero. "Hope Speech Study Guide." November 1, 2019. Accessed September 22, 2023. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Hope-Speech/.


Course Hero, "Hope Speech Study Guide," November 1, 2019, accessed September 22, 2023, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Hope-Speech/.



Harvey Milk

Year Delivered



Primary Source



At a Glance

  • In November 1977, Harvey Milk (1930–78) was elected to San Francisco's Board of Supervisors, becoming the first openly gay person to be elected to political office in California.
  • On June 25, 1978, in celebration of Gay Freedom Day, Milk delivered the Hope Speech at San Francisco's City Hall.
  • In his speech, Milk uses humor to highlight the absurdity of false claims advanced by antigay activists.
  • Milk addresses the sense that the country is taking a conservative turn after a period of relatively progressive social and cultural movements.
  • Milk acknowledges the success of conservative campaigns against LGBTQ rights, but also points out how they have brought visibility to the LGBTQ community.
  • Milk draws parallels between African Americans and LGBTQ people, holding up the African American community as a model for success in gaining rights.
  • Milk calls for greater LGBTQ visibility and political power in order to gain rights but also to give LGBTQ people hope.
  • Milk extends his call for hope to other marginalized communities, including people of color and senior citizens.
  • Milk describes his election to public office as a hopeful moment that sends a message to all marginalized people that change and success are possible.


This study guide for Harvey Milk's Hope Speech offers summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs.

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