Public memorials are embedded in our landscape. In this episode we learn the history behind two public memorial benches that bookend the Bolin Creek Trail in Chapel Hill.
Learn how two men devoted their lives to making our public spaces more open and accessbile for all of us...and how one man tried to stop such work from ever happening.
This episode was produced and edited by Molly Luby, with help from Mandella Younge, Omar Roque, David Felton, and Susan Brown. Audio mixing by Ryan Chamberlain.
Season one of Re/Collecting Chapel Hill was supported by grant funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the federal Library Services and Technology Act as administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.
- Remembering Joe Herzenberg: Lightning Brown recalled as fighter on local, gay issues: Chapel Hill activist dies at 48 — Brown was drafting an ordinance to clarify Chapel Hill's rules for people who run businesses in their homes. It was issues like this one, obscure yet crucial to people's lives, that fired Brown's blood during the past 20 years of being one of the most consistent and persuasive community activists in town. The only thing that finally could stop Brown from getting his way, it seems, was the AIDS virus that finally overwhelmed him Monday. He was 48.
- A-0381 :: Southern Oral History Program Interview Database — Joseph Herzenberg was a member of the Chapel Hill Town Council from 1979-1981 and 1987-1993, and was often said to be the only openly gay elected official in the South during those periods. He discusses (extensively) the evolution of gay politics in North Carolina and his own career in local politics and as a history teacher and civil rights activist, including many details about his campaigns, gay political organizations and opposition to these.
- Community Center Park scupture honoring Lightning Brown, a community activist and advocate for Chapel Hill greenways — “Community Center Park scupture honoring Lightning Brown, a community activist and advocate for Chapel Hill greenways”
- Community Arts & Culture | Town of Chapel Hill, NC — Herzenberg was a noted advocate for the environment, civil liberties, and the interests of low-income people, and he played a great part in the enactment of Chapel Hill's tree protection ordinance, the creation of the Chapel Hill Greenways system, and the preservation of the Chapel Hill downtown historic district.
- Thank you, Joe Herzenberg | Friends of Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation — We remember Joe by making key improvements to the trail he loved and invite others to do the same.
- The Collected Poems (Book) | Chapel Hill Public Library | BiblioCommons — Price wrote a series of poems for Lightning Brown, before and after Brown's death. Find them all in this collection.
- Feasting the Heart (Book) | Chapel Hill Public Library | BiblioCommons — Find the full essay about Lightning Brown, "A Single Death Among Many," in this Reynolds Price collection. The essay concludes with Price's poem "Scattering Lightning on the Slave Cemetery in Chapel Hill."
- The Tougaloo Nine Remembered | American Libraries Magazine — Geraldine Edwards Hollis was one of nine young African American students at the historically black Tougaloo College in Mississippi who were arrested for entering the whites-only public library in Jackson on March 27, 1961. In a Sunday program titled “Desegregating Public Libraries,” Hollis told what happened that day, when they requested books not held by the “colored” branch of the library and were arrested by police because they did not belong there. A local newspaper called the read-in the “first move to integrate public facilities in Jackson.”