James C. Hormel LGBTQIA Center

Monday, May 10, 2010

Archives May 2010: One Man's Labor of Love

May Day seems the most appropriate day to announce the acquisition of the Howard Wallace Papers by the Hormel Center. Wallace is a gay labor and peace activist who is perhaps best known as a co-founder of Pride at Work (PAW), previously named the Lesbian and Gay Labor Alliance. He was one of the founders of Bay Area Gay Liberation (BAGL) in 1975 and, with Harvey Milk, he led the Coors Beer boycott that began the same year. This photograph by Howard Petrick shows Wallace (in sunglasses).

Howard's activism in Denver, Colorado and in San Francisco over the last 30 years has centered on equal rights for all regardless of sexual orientation or race. He is a tireless advocate for coalition building between communities in order to forge alliances based on mutually identified goals.

A contemporary of Harvey Milk and Randy Shilts, Wallace ran for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1975 against Milk, among others. Though neither won that election, Milk was elected in 1977.

Wallace organized the first March On Washington for Gay Rights in 1979. He is currently involved with Senior Action Network (SAN), and the San Francisco Labor Council.

Some of the interesting pieces in his Papers include materials on the Coors Boycott, the Florida Orange Juice Boycott, the anti-Briggs Initiative (i.e. No On 6) campaign regarding gay/lesbian teachers in California, materials on housing plans in San Francisco, peace activism and the Yes on N campaign to bring U.S. troops out of Iraq. He is also a long-time proponent of health care unions.

Because the Howard Wallace Papers are a very recent acquisition and not yet organized, they are not currently available for research. All Hormel Center archives are handled through the San Francisco History Center, 6th floor, Main Library. For questions, please contact the San Francisco History Center reference desk at 415-557-4567.

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