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.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Fright night on Franklin Street

Chapel Hill News, Oct. 27, 2004

Residents have reveled in or put up with the downtown Halloween celebration for years now.

But just when did Franklin Street morph into the largest demon destination in the state?

Though no one can pinpoint the date, most interviewed said downtown Halloween crowds started growing sometime in the 1970s.

"I was sitting in the window of Spanky's on Halloween in 1979," recalls former councilman Joe Herzenberg. "I just noticed it was really not what it used to be. It was really getting to be a big thing."

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