JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — History students at East Tennessee State University (ETSU) presented a semester’s worth of research on Johnson City’s Black history during an event at the Langston Centre on Tuesday, with former Langston School students in attendance.

The community-engaged learning event was hosted by ETSU’s History Department and Black American Studies Program and served as a day for students to present projects that consisted of reconstructing the Black history of Johnson City.

ETSU students present research to former Langston School students and community members. (Photo: WJHL)

“Coming to a [former] segregated school is kind of like reliving some of those moments, and having people who actually went here during segregation, some of them actually shared their experience, how it was to sit in the back of the bus, go to a segregated school,” said ETSU professor and event organizer Constanze Weise.

Participating students spent the semester combing through historical information about Johnson City’s Black churches, civic clubs, schools and organizations dating back to the Civil War. They saw their projects come to fruition as they presented them to former Langston students and key members of Johnson City’s Black history at the Langston Centre.

“I think it means not only a lot to us, to the professors and to the history department, to the students who are taking our classes, but also to the community members and the Black community, which has been very small here in Johnson City,” Weise said. “So, there’s very little known, and my students have been working to uncover a lot of the history during the semester.”

The historical findings have been made available by the university for viewing by generations to come. The ETSU Archives of Appalachia has digitized this project, as well as many others, free for the public to view on their website.