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Elizabeth Saulsbury

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Living history: Langston High School reunion set for July 4-6

June 27th, 2014 10:02 am by Elizabeth Saulsbury

Living history: Langston High School reunion set for July 4-6

The 1940 Langston High School football team (Contributed)

The 20th Bi-Annual Langston Reunion is fast approaching.

The Langston High School Reunion Committee has announced the reunion will be held July 4-6 and is welcome to all former students, staff, family and friends of Langston High School.

“We hope everyone will come out and enjoy themselves, because we’re losing members,” said committee member Erma Smith.

Langston High School, Johnson City’s African-American public high school, graduated its last class in 1965. Langston was a small school, but a successful one.

“We were still able to field a championship football team, both men’s and women’s basketball teams, a debate team and a very large choir,” said committee member Bill Coleman.

Langston’s role in the community was not limited to that of a school. Plays, programs, workshops and classes are just some of the activities that took place at the school.

“It was a segregated school, but it was the center of African-American culture in Johnson City,” Coleman said.

Langston was thought well of by the surrounding community and received much support from Johnson City.

“The city supported us 100 percent on any event,” said committee Chairwoman Bobbie Watterson. “You’d be surprised at the closeness we had with the community during that time.”

Because of the small size of the school and its situation as an African-American school, Langston’s students and families were a close-knit community.

“It was truly a village school,” Watterson said. “It really does take a village to raise a child, and we understood that before anyone ever said it. All the parents looked out for all the children.”

Coleman said he is proud to have his foundations at Langston. That’s really something coming from the most junior officer to ever command a Navy warship. Coleman said that he found many examples of good character at Langston.

“We had role models in the community,” Coleman said. “We didn’t have any African-American big businessmen or politicians back then, but we had teachers and preachers.”

Langston High School graduates remember not only building foundations of character at the school, but also having a good time.

“I feel like that’s where I spent the happiest years of my younger life,” Watterson said.

The sign-up deadline for the reunion is 6 p.m. Saturday. For more information, call Watterson (483-8611), Nancy Robinson (794-0641), Smith (788-4169) or Coleman (677-2210).

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