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, November 10, 2008

Chapel Hill may name trail for Herzenberg

N&O, Orange Chat, Nov. 10, 2008


The Greenways Commission and the Parks and Recreation Commission voted unanimously to jointly recommend at tonight's Town Council meeting that the town make the following naming and dedication change:

* Dedicate the future phase 3 section of the Bolin Creek Trail in honor of Joe Herzenberg. The commissions note Herzenberg was a strong proponent of open space and greenways and left at least $250,000 upon his death to be used for the Bolin Creek Trail. (The commissions also note that it would be easier to plan a memorial to Herzenberg if any such dedication were made prior to construction.)

Joe and Allan Gurganus at Joe's Stonewall party, 2004.