John Watson Milton

Crossing the Barriers, The Autobiography of Allan H. Spear

Foreword by Barney Frank, Afterword by John Milton
University of Minnesota Press, 2010

"Allan Spear had a long and distinguished career as a historian and Minnesota state senator. Perhaps best known for coming out as openly gay during his first term in the senate – one of the first elected officials in the nation to do so – Spear was also a leader of Eugene McCarthy’s run for the presidency, an organizer against the war in Vietnam, and a key proponent for the establishment of the African-American studies department of the University of Minnesota. Spear remained in the Senate for 28 years, finishing his career there as the elected President of the Senate. The LGBT rights bill finally passed in 1993, the first in the nation to be so inclusive.

"Spear passed away on October 1, 2008, leaving his memoir incomplete. A stirring afterword by John Milton completes the story of Spear’s life, chronicling the recognition of his accomplishments as a politician and activist during his final years."
-- University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis

"I join with all Minnesotans who mourn the loss of Allan Spear. His evenhandedness, command of the issues, and ability to reach across the aisle and work with colleagues of both parties were legendary and should inspire us all. He was a man of great courage who served as one of this nation’s first openly gay legislators."
-- Senator Barack Obama, October 2008

Selected Works

Definitive biography of Minnesota’s Senate Majority Leader Nick Coleman, key sponsor of the "Minnesota Miracle."
Autobiography, political memoir
When Senator Allan Spear – the first LGBT senator in the nation to come out – died in late 2008, his publisher recruited John Milton, one of Spear’s colleagues in the Minnesota Senate, to summarize the last years of his life in an afterword. The book was a finalist in its category for the Minnesota Book Awards in 2011.

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