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.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Remembering King

Carrboro Citizen, January 14, 2010

If you’ve recently made your way across the square in front of Chapel Hill’s downtown post office, you may have noticed an inscription near the flagpole that says “Peace & Justice Plaza.”

Below those words are the names of eight individuals — men and women, black and white — who were at the forefront of this community’s civil rights efforts. Below that are the words of Martin Luther King Jr.: “True peace is not merely the absence of negative forces, it is the presence of justice.”

You may or may not know the names Charlotte Adams, Henry Anderson, James Brittian, Joe Herzenberg, Mildred Ringwalt, Joe and Lucy Straley and Gloria Williams. They’re largely responsible for that little square in front of the post office being hallowed ground. It was the setting for countless rallies and protests during the civil rights era and each year on the third Monday in January it serves again as a gathering spot for those dedicated to keeping King’s dream alive.

There the NAACP’s annual rally in remembrance of King and the cause he fought and died for begins on Monday at 9 a.m. From there, the annual march down Franklin Street will start at 9:30 and proceed down to First Baptist Church on Roberson Street for a worship service. The service starts at 10:30 a.m. Tim Tyson, author of the book Blood Done Signed My Name and an extensive study of the 1898 Wilmington Riots, will be the keynote speaker.

The rally, march and worship service are among dozens of events throughout the community, including several for those who want to honor King with a day of service to their community.

No comments: