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, May 2, 2008

First names proposed for post office plaza

N&O, Orange Chat, May 2, 2008


The Chapel Hill Town Council will consider the first names to be engraved on a marker outside the Franklin Street post office on Monday.

The council voted in 2006 to name the spot the "Peace and Justice Plaza" in recognition of the political gatherings that have taken place there.

In a 2007 story, we reported that the the council voted to engrave the names of longtime activists Charlotte Adams and Joe and Lucy Straley on a 5 foot by 5 foot granite marker outside the post office.

Now comes word, by way of Monday's Town Council agenda, that town leaders have decided to add some other names to the marker.

The council will consider a recommendation to engrave the following names: Joe and Lucy Straley, Charlotte Adams, Joe Herzenberg, Hubert Robinson, James R. Brittain, Henry "Hank" Anderson III, and Gloria Williams.

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