Campaign flyer from Joe’s first Chapel Hill Town Council race, 1979

About Joe

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Chapel Hill, N.C., United States
Joe Herzenberg was born June 25, 1941, to Morris & Marjorie Herzenberg. His father owned the town pharmacy in Franklin, N.J., where Joe grew up. After he graduated from Yale University in 1964, Joe went to Mississippi to register voters for Freedom Summer. He joined the faculty of historically black Tougaloo College, where he was appointed chair of the history department. Joe arrived in Chapel Hill in 1969 to enroll as a graduate student in history at the University of North Carolina, and, along with his partner Lightning Brown, soon immersed himself in local, state, and national politics. Although Joe’s first campaign for the Chapel Hill Town Council in 1979 was unsuccessful, he was appointed to the Council to fill a vacant seat and served until 1981. In 1987, he was elected to the Council, becoming the former Confederacy's first openly gay elected official. Joe died surrounded by friends on October 28, 2007. He was 66 years old.

Monday, January 23, 1995

Neighbors tour group home for people with AIDS

The News & Observer, Jan. 23, 1995

CARRBORO -- A new group home for people with AIDS welcomed friends, politicians, supporters and neighbors, some of whom once opposed its construction, during an open house Sunday afternoon. Well-wishers as well as the curious toured the six-bedroom house at North Greensboro Street and Robert Hunt Drive. The house is intended to provide a less expensive alternative to a hospital forpeople with AIDS who desire a homelike place to live while receiving treatment.


The road to opening the house has been filled with roadblocks, said Joe Herzenberg, a member of the board of directors. "This has been a long and very frustrating experience, but we're happy," he said.

After being turned down repeatedly for grants and facing opposition from the neighbors, the board was excited when construction actually began, Herzenberg said. "When they were building it, I came out here almost every day to see every brick added," he said.

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