Gov. Milton Shapp (b. 1912 - d. 1994)
First Jewish Governor and LGBTQ+ Advocate
Term 1971 - 1979
Photo credit: Pennsylvania State Archives
Originally born in Cleveland, Ohio as Milton Jerrold Shapiro, Milton changed his last name to to avoid anti-Semitism. In 1936, he moved his electronic sales business to Philadelphia and made his residence in Merion Square.
cable company often hired minority groups and promoted women to top management positions. reputation aided him in his run for Pennsylvania Governor. Although he lost in 1966, individualism resonated with the general public. In 1970, ran again and became the first Jewish governor of Pennsylvania.
Times Herald, November 4, 1970
While in office, was nationally known for getting opposing groups to work together and improving public services. He even became the first governor in the United States to make a law protecting members of the LGBTQ+ community from discrimination. After meeting gay activist Mark Segal in Norristown in 1974, launched a task force to investigate claims of discrimination in state and local government. Realizing the state legislature would not pass state-wide laws preventing discrimination, decided to make changes to the state government itself. On April 23, 1975, issued an executive order to end discrimination within the state government against people based on their sexual orientation.