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 30, 1970

Founding Mound Bayou

New York Times Sunday Magazine, Nov. 30, 1969, Page SM114

Founding Mound Bayou (Letter to the Editor)

With regard to the suggestion in your Oct. 26 article on Mayor Evers ("The Mayor of Fayette, Miss.") that the all-black town of Mound (not Mt.) Bayou was founded by Jefferson Davis for his former slaves: even a century ago black people did act by themselves in their own interests.

Although many of the first settlers of Mound Bayou had participated in an earlier and abortive experiment at Davis Bend on the former land of Davis's brother, Joseph, the initiative behind the founding of Mound Bayou was black, primarily the work of the black entrepreneur, Isaiah T. Montgomery.

Dept. of History, Tougaloo College. Tougaloo, Miss.

(Editor's note: Joe wrote this letter to the editor in 1969, but Blogger only allows posts to be categorized as far back as 1970.)