by Allan Baird

I first met Scott Smith in late 1973 after Harvey Milk and Scott moved to Castro Street. Scott introduced my wife and me to Harvey. Scott was full of pride as he talked about Harvey, who was taking his first shot at running for public office in San Francisco. From that day on, Scott stayed in the shadow of Harvey, who was his lover and partner in a camera shop business.

I told Scott and Harvey what it was like to grow up in the Castro District in the 1930s. It became clear that Scott and Harvey's main interest was to make our community a better place for all, whether gay or straight.

As a young Teamster official in 1973, I made a decision to speak out for gay rights and endorse and support Harvey for public office. Harvey Milk became the first openly gay person to be elected Supervisor of San Francisco.

There is an old saying that behind every successful man there is a woman. In Harvey's case, it was a man: Scott Smith. In 1974, I was directing the boycott of Coors beer. Harvey was the name out in front, but Scott was in the shadow giving me help and advice. My wife and I continued to be friends of Scott over the next 20 years.

We always respected Scott for the love of his mother. He phoned his mom every Sunday and talked for one hour. She lives in Mississippi.

Scott phoned me in December 1994 and said, "Allan, we are invited to the premiere of the Harvey Milk opera in Houston, Texas." Due to illness in my family, I had to decline. I met with Scott when he returned. He was full of pride and joy.

I said, "Scott, you've finally come out of the shadow of Harvey. You are now getting the recognition you deserve."

I'm so glad that Scott could see the opera before his death. He was also looking forward to the movie, Harvey Milk, whenever it will come to the big screen.

I met Scott on Castro St. the day before he went into the hospital. He said, "I feel fine." He died on February 4.

I asked him how his mom was, and Scott said, "She's great. But if she ever needs me, I will have her with me and care for her." Scott was a dedicated son.

A host of Scott's loving friends joined his mother to take Scott's ashes out to sea on February 11 in the bright light of day. No more shadows for Scott.

When we remember Harvey Milk, we must never forget Scott Smith.

Allan Baird Retired President Teamsters Local 921 San Francisco

This article is copyright (c) 1995 by the author, Allan Baird. He has kindly given me permission to post it here on my website.

Scott Smith played a major role in the story of Harvey Milk. He worked relentlessly behind the scenes in support of Harvey's political life as well as keeping his home and business in order. He has never received proper recognition for his contribution.

Page created August 12, 2000 - modified January 16, 2007