James G. Johnson

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Dr. James Gibson Johnson (1871-1957) served as the superintendent of Charlottesville City Schools for 35 years. Johnson Elementary School on Cherry Avenue is named for him. [1]


Dr. James G. Johnson from Lane High School Yearbook 1943

Johnson was born in Elk Garden, Russell County, Virginia. His father, C. W. Johnson, was a physician and Confederate veteran.

Johnson received his bachelor's degree from Milligan College in Tennessee, then a Ph.D. in English from UVA in 1909. He then become Superintendent of Schools, holding that position until 1946.

Johnson oversaw the construction of several schools, including McGuffey, Venable, Clark, Lane, and the initial part of what is now the Jefferson School City Center building for the newly-created Jefferson High. 

In 1914, in response to a group of local Black ministers protesting the Charlottesville City School Board (which had been steering and tracking Black students exclusively into manual labor jobs), Johnson eliminated the Jefferson Graded School's carpentry shop.[2]

In 1936, Johnson edited and contributed to a detailed history of the Charlottesville schools that was published as a supplement to the McGuffey Readers. After retiring, he collected data on schools and teaching. [1]

Johnson died in 1957.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Web. James G. Johnson, Staff Reports, Daily Progress Digitized Microfilm, Lindsay family, February 4, 1956, retrieved February 4, 2017 from University of Virginia Library. Print. February 4, 1956 page 3.
  2. Web. Picture Me As I Am: Mirror and Memory in the Age of Black Resistance, The Jefferson School African American Heritage Center

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