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My Desire for HistoryEssays in Gay, Community, and Labor History$
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Allan Berube, John D'Emilio, and Estelle B. Freedman

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780807834794

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807877982_berube

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Behind the Specter of San Francisco

Behind the Specter of San Francisco

(p.54) Chapter 2 Behind the Specter of San Francisco
My Desire for History

Allan Bérubé

University of North Carolina Press

This essay discusses the 1959 mayoral campaign in San Francisco, which is a good example of how Berube employed history to illuminate contemporary events. In April 1980, CBS television nationally aired Gay Power, Gay Politics, a news special that raised the prospect of homosexuals dominating San Francisco politics and transforming the city into a sexual playground. Berube's response was to tell the story of an earlier era in the city when the specter of homosexual power was used by politicians to inflame public opinion. The historical lesson he hoped to communicate was that efforts at repression might also breed resistance and organization. Berube's piece was published in The Body Politic, based in Toronto, a city that was experiencing its own wave of antigay political repression in the early 1980s.

Keywords:   1959 mayoral campaign, San Francisco, Berube, homosexuals

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