J.M. Langston Focus School
History of John M. Langston
John M. Langston School has a rich, significant history in the Danville community. The first John M. LangstonHighSchoolwas constructed in 1936 and was located on the corner of Holbrook and Gay streets. The school was named after John Mercer Langston, who served as president of what is now Virginia State University in Petersburg, Virginia. Langston, a lawyer and public officer, achieved prominence as both an abolitionist and as an orator. Professor E. A. Gibson served as first principal. Following Professor Gibson was R. L. Armstead, C. D. Paige and John Byrd.
In 1958, a new J. M. Langston High School was erected at the present site in the historic Westmoreland neighborhood district, with Mr. Byrd continuing to serve as principal. He was followed by Mrs. Vera B. Murphy. In 1970, John M. Langston High School merged with George Washington High School, and Langston became Langston Junior High School. The first principal of Langston Junior High School was Gordon McCubbins. He was followed by David Crews, Doris Wilson, Remus Gunn, and Paul Thompson. Danville Public Schools embraced the Focus School concept and the Langston campus housed several academies/focus schools. Leading these various initiatives have been Carolyn Craig Kirby, Kevin Whitlock, Melvin Martin, Kenny Lewis, Samuel Massie, Curtis Gore, and Larry Toomer.
Presently, Langston Focus School is under the leadership of Jocelyn Fitzgerald. Throughout its history of serving the youth of Danville, Langston has been a place where those inside its walls have studied together, laughed together and shared aspirations and dreams as they grew together. Over the years, many committed individuals have led Langston to great heights in academia, and those who value John M. Langston School have held it up as a “Legacy of Excellence in Education.”
John M. Langston High School Alma Mater
Proudly we sing of halls where our swift feet have trod,
Seeking to bring to light the wondrous gifts of God,
Where in thy chambers we have sought success to gain,
Langston, dear Langston, may thy spirit ever reign.
Oh! Pride of our hearts, may we forever be,
Guided by spirit true to thee, to thee,
We cherish thy precepts, high, noble and true.
Langston, dear Langston W\we sing, we sing,
We sing of you.
Edith M. Whiteman (1939)