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.

Sunday, June 11, 2000

Gay Rights: Where Are We Now?

NC Society for Ethical Culture Sunday Platform Talk, June 11, 2000

Featured Speaker:

Joe Herzenberg, retired historian, Founding Board Member of Equality NC PAC


Gay Rights: Where Are We Now?

Our platform speakers are selected based on their knowledge and expertise on a given subject, not necessarily on the degree to which they agree with the basic values and principles of Ethical Culture. We may invite speakers with dramatically opposing views in order to challenge the existing "politically correct" views.

Presentations are on Sundays at 11AM at the Arts Center, 300 E. Main St. in Carrboro, NC.