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J-WMS History


A Short History of Johnson-Williams Middle School

Clarke County, Virginia

ImageIn 1925, the African-American community of Josephine City petitioned the school board of Clarke County for funds to build a school for their children. With minimum supplies and the black community's own labor, the Clarke County Training School was completed and became the only black high school in Clarke County in 1930.

 

In 1944, the original four room school was expanded and named after a famous black Clarke County educator, Dr. W.T.B. Williams. Further expansion in 1949 also signaled a name change to incorporate and honor the contribution of Rev. E.T. Johnson, principal of the school until his death in 1944.Image

 

In 1966, Clarke County integrated all schools and the former Johnson-Williams School became the Clarke County Intermediate School for all county seventh and eighth grade students. The school's name was changed to Johnson-Williams Intermediate School in 1971, reflecting its historical roots. Renovated in 1973, JWIS continued to serve until 1987 when it was deemed unable to fulfill the curricular requirements.

 

It was then that the original building was abandoned as a school and Johnson-Williams Middle School was moved to its present site [the old Clarke County High School] and grade six added. J-WIS was expanded and renovated in 1992.

The years 1998 through 2000 saw the complete renovation of the old high school [built in 1954] into the Johnson-Williams Middle School that stands proudly today. A new sixth grade wing, media center and office complex was added; the auditorium was upgraded to meet the needs of our growing community; and the former maintenance wing was converted into classroom space. All this was done while classes remained in session and learning continued. The juxtaposition of old and new has given the building a fresh, clean look on a sound foundation that will serve the community well in the years to come.

 

The original [albeit refurbished] training school building on Josephine Street continues to serve the county as an apartment complex. The original home economics building has been restored and is presently used as a black history museum for the Clarke County community.