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  • Ed Gaines

J. O. Johnson Was The First New Racially Integrated High School In Huntsville, Alabama

The school was named for former Huntsville educator James Oliver Johnson, and served as a Brigadier General in the United States Army. Johnson commanded one of the first all black combat battalion in WW II, leading to the integration and racial diversity of the US Army. Johnson led men who constructed airplane infrastructure on the ground in North Africa and Mediterranean region, for Army Air Forces including the Tuskegee Airmen.

True to the legacy of its namesake, J.O. Johnson was the first new High School in Huntsville, Alabama built as a racially integrated high school. Black and White Students had no strife, and became the model High School throughout the state shortly after the Civil Rights era. In August 2012, the Huntsville City Schools announced plans to build a new school, and retain the name JO Johnson.

The school was relocated and the name changed to Mae Jemison High School named after NASA Astronaut Mae Jemison.

On Thursday May 26, 2016, Johnson held its 44th and final Commencement Exercises at the Von Braun Center Arena.

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