Harvey Milk’s Shop, Center of a Movement, Is Now the Center of an Internal Fight

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SAN FRANCISCO — During the heady early days of the gay rights movement, there was no place in the nation with more righteous energy than 575 Castro Street.

A small, unremarkable storefront, 575 Castro was home to Castro Camera, owned by Harvey Milk, the trailblazing activist who in 1977 became the first openly gay man elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. He ran that campaign — and others for gay and lesbian rights — from the shop and his apartment upstairs.

A year later, that energy was snuffed out when Mr. Milk was murdered by a fellow supervisor, Dan White. But the site has remained sacred for activists, with a plaque emblazoned with Mr. Milk’s motto: “You gotta give ’em hope!”

Of late, however, 575 Castro has been the focus of a more familial squabble. A major gay rights group based in Washington, the Human Rights Campaign, has leased the space as an “action center” and store, selling T-shirts ($25), tote bags ($19), celebratory snow globes of same-sex newlyweds ($7.50) and items bearing Mr. Milk’s words or image....

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