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

About Joe

My photo
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, April 14, 2002

Carrboro first stop in nationwide tour for Out & Elected in the U.S.A.

Press Release, Town of Carrboro, April 14, 2002

The Carrboro Art Committee, Chapel Hill Public Arts Commission, and the Gay and Lesbian Victory Foundation are pleased to announce the arrival of an important new nationally touring exhibit. Out & Elected in the U.S.A. features 60 photographs with accompanying texts of openly lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans who have served or currently are serving at nearly every level of elected office throughout the country. Through the efforts of Carrboro Mayor Mike Nelson, Carrboro was the first stop in the nationwide tour.

"With black and white photographs, and the words of the subjects, this is a remarkable and thought-provoking body of work that documents the past 30 years of a significant emerging trend in U.S. political history," said Nelson.

The collection includes subjects from 30 of the 33 states where openly LGBT individuals have been elected.

Brian K. Bond, Executive Director of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Foundation, commented: "We are pleased to sponsor an exhibit that offers such personal and accessible testimony to the importance of the work we do at the Victory Foundation, preparing LGBT leaders for positions in public life."

Out & Elected in the U.S.A. kicked off the tour with a display at the Carrboro Century Center on Sunday April 14, with a reception from 5 until 7 pm. The free reception was open to the public and hosted a crowd of more than 100 people.


The exhibit has been coordinated locally by volunteer Catherine DeVine. Of particular interest at the local level are two photos of local elected officials, Carrboro Mayor Mike Nelson and former Chapel Hill Town Council member Joe Herzenberg. The Carrboro Art Committee is honored to be showing this exhibition from April 14 until May 12, 2002. Stop by and check it out.

Joe at Out & Elected in the USA reception, seated with hat

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