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.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Joe was always a true friend of the IFC

IFC News, Spring 2009

Thanks, Joe

Throughout his life, Joe Herzenberg enriched Chapel Hill. And so it's no surprise that even after his death in 2007, Joe continues to help the community, thanks to bequests he made in his will, including a $250,000 gift to IFC.

A historian and political activist, Joe became the first openly gay elected official in North Carolina with his 1987 election to the Chapel Hill Town Council. A fierce advocate for social, environmental and economic justice, Joe's generous bequest will help the disenfranchised served by IFC by supporting emergency shelter and long-term housing opportunities for men, women and children.

In addition, IFC purchased a truck, for its new FoodFirst program, which is used to transport food between all of IFC's facilities.

The FoodFirst truck used to transport food between IFC locations is just one of the legacies of a generous bequest by the late Joe Herzenberg.

"Joe was always a true friend of the IFC," says Chris Moran, IFC Executive Director. "He was a regular donor and advisor to IFC over the years. And he was someone who was extremely public in his views about supporting human services."

Community members are invited to support The Joe Herzenberg Fund; funds raised will support IFC's residential services operation.

For more information, contact IFC Development Director Kim Shaw at 919-929-6380 ext. 29 or