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J.O. Johnson High School
6201 Pueblo Drive
Huntsville, Alabama, Madison 35810
United States
Type Public
Motto Sum Quae Credo
("I am what I believe I am.")
Established 1972
Opened 1972-73 school year
School district Huntsville City Schools
Principal Eric T. Jones
Grades 9-12
Campus Suburban (42 acres)
Color(s) Blue and Gold         
Athletics AHSAA Class 5A
Sports Basketball, Football, Cheer, Dance, Soccer, Baseball, Softball, and Volleyball
Mascot Jaguars
Accreditation Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
Newspaper Jaguar Journal
Yearbook Harmony

Coordinates: 34°47′57.4″N 86°36′33.56″W / 34.799278°N 86.6093222°W / 34.799278; -86.6093222

James Oliver Johnson High School, more commonly referred to as J.O. Johnson High School or J.O.J., is a public high school located in the northwest area of Huntsville, Alabama. The school serves grades 9 through 12. It is home to an International Education Magnet Program, and the school also features a Marine JROTC program.[1]


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 lead 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, JO Johnson is 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.

The road actually leading to the campus, Cecil Fain Drive, is named after another long term educator. J.O.J. opened in 1972 at 6201 Pueblo Drive, Huntsville, Alabama, to ease the overcrowding of Lee High School and to meet the needs of an area of Huntsville that had just begun to grow in population. Its primary feeder schools are the Academy for Science and Foreign Language, Edward H. White Middle School, and Davis Hills Middle School.

In August 2012, the Huntsville City Schools announced plans to build a new school, and retain the name JO Johnson.

In 2013 it was announced the school would receive a new building, but retain its name in 2016. The latest statement is that the Johnson name will not transfer to the new school (unlike the 4 other High Schools rebuilt over the years) The school name will close and be changed to Mae Jemison High School and for the middle school that will share the campus, Ronald McNair Junior High School. These school names are named after the NASA Astronaut Mae Jemison who had no connection to the community, and only connection to Alabama is being born in Decatur, AL but permanently leaving for Chicago at age 3.

A protest, against the decision and misinformation of the name change has ripped the community, and was the subject of a peaceful protest of over 500 people in 2013; the largest civil rights protest in the history of Huntsville, AL. The protest was lead by the students and alumni, plus the elected officials who represents the JO Johnson community.

Johnson High rival, Lee High School, is named after the Lee Highway which ran in front of the original school location. When the new building was constructed on Meridian Street, the Huntsville City School system attempted to rename it, and in fact actually removed the name "Lee High School" from the building after it had been installed which resulted in a large protest from alumni at a city school board meeting as well as a huge letter writing and social media campaign. The result was that Lee High was allowed to keep its name.

Lee High School was opened as a middle school in the late 1950s and was located on Forrest Circle until it moved across the railroad tracks to Meridian Street for the 2012-2013 school year.

JO Johnson other rival, also retained its name and confederate symbols, albeit Johnson High a school opened on the principles of diversity is forced to change its name. Butler High School was closed in 2015. However, its mascot was the racist Colonel Rebel character, the same as the one recently abandoned by the University of Mississippi due to its overt racist nod to the colonial south. Butler High was opened as a school only for whites students, and never abandoned its pageantry of confederate mascots and symbols which included a massive confederate flag on its gymnasium wall.

Notable Alumni[edit]

Journalism and Media Personalities[edit]

Name Class year Notability Reference(s)
Kym Richardson Thurman 1988 Newsanchor for Mobile, Alabama NBC-affiliate LOCAL 15
Harrell T. Wells 2003 Screenplay Writer and Journalist

Film, Theater, and Television[edit]

Name Class year Notability Reference(s)
Reginald "Reg" E. Cathey 1976 The Wire (1998), Se7en (1995), The Machinist (2004) and American Psycho (2000)
DeRon "Hollywood" Shepherd 1996 Drumline: A New Beat (2014), Faith Evans "You Get's No Love (2001), The Parkers TV Series (2001-2002)


Name Class year Notability Reference(s)
Sharon Johnson Coleman 1977 United States District Judge (United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois)

United States Armed Forces[edit]

Name Class year Notability Reference(s)
Charles Kenneth Carodine 1977 Rear Admiral United States Navy Reserve


Name Class year Notability Reference(s)
Bobby Cattage 1976 NBA player, Utah Jazz and New Jersey Nets
Donnie Humphrey 1979 NFL player, Green Bay Packers
James Mundie 1981 NCAA player, Mississippi State, UAH,HUNTSVILLE ALABAMA ATHLETIC HALL OF FAME Inductee 2012.
Joey Kent 1992 NFL player, Tennessee Oilers/Titans, Indianapolis Colts and Minnesota Vikings
Chris Martin 1979 NFL player, New Orleans Saints, Minnesota Vikings, Kansas City Chiefs, and Los Angeles Rams
Rashad Moore 1998 NFL player, Seattle Seahawks, Oakland Raiders, New York Jets, New England Patriots, and Atlanta Falcons
James Willis 1990 NFL player, Green Bay Packers, Philadelphia Eagles, and Seattle Seahawks; XFL player, Birmingham Thunderbolts


Name Class year Notability Reference(s)
Janet Emerson Bashen 1975 Inventor of LinkLine (Inventor)

Notable Faculty[edit]

Former Faculty[edit]


  1. ^ Seeley, Scott R. (August 12, 2009). "Marine JROTC leader sets winning example". Redstone Rocket. Retrieved September 9, 2012. 

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J.O._Johnson_High_School — Please support Wikipedia.
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324 news items

LEX18 Lexington KY News
Wed, 20 Apr 2016 06:07:31 -0700

He averaged 19.9 points, 7.3 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.8 steals per game last season for J.O. Johnson High School in Huntsville. Kentucky coach John Calipari watched him play in Brooklyn over the weekend in the Nike EYBL against Tampa's Kevin Knox, ...

The Courier-Journal

The Courier-Journal
Fri, 22 Apr 2016 17:56:21 -0700

Petty's coach at J.O. Johnson High School, the legendary Jack Doss, also grew up a UK fan, loves Calipari and had this to say Friday about Petty's college decision: “I try to stay out of it, and he needs to go where he'll be happy, but I also let him ...


Thu, 29 Oct 2015 10:32:43 -0700

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - The Alabama High School Athletic Association says J.O. Johnson High School is eliminated from the playoffs and must forfeit four wins after determining a player was ineligible to compete on this year's team. This is a blow to Johnson ...

280 Living

280 Living
Tue, 26 Apr 2016 14:11:15 -0700

Collins began his love of musical instruments while in the band at J.O. Johnson High School in Huntsville, but he said he didn't have any idea he would one day repair instruments for a living. The Huntsville native grew up planning to pursue a career ...


Mon, 18 Apr 2016 18:41:15 -0700

Alabama head coach Avery Johnson visited top target John Petty today according to recruiting analyst Garrett Tucker. Kentucky is expected to visit the 6-7 wing from Huntsville (Ala.) J.O. Johnson High School on Tuesday. Petty is ranked No. 16 in the ...


Thu, 06 Aug 2015 14:32:19 -0700

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The actions of one inspired teacher at J.O. Johnson High School brought excitement and free backpacks to the entire student body on Thursday. Johnson High School Teacher Nicole Franklin submitted an application to Teach for ...
WBRC FOX6 News - WBRC.com
Sat, 05 Mar 2016 12:48:45 -0800

J.O. Johnson High School's boys' basketball team topped off its final season with a 71-50 win over Faith Academy to capture the AHSAA Class 5A state basketball championship Saturday. The Jaguars (29-5) also won their second straight 5A title and handed ...


Fri, 15 Jan 2016 20:21:30 -0800

J.O. Johnson 70, Madison Academy 28: Jaguars crush Langford-less Mustangs in battle. Johnson's John Petty (23). Columbia vs. Johnson at J.O. Johnson High School Tuesday Jan. 12, 2016. (Bob Gathany/bgathany@al.com). By Zach Eccher | preps@al.

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