HARRISONBURG, Va. (WRIC) — James Madison University announced that they will be naming one of their campus buildings after Dr. Sheary Darcus Johnson. Darcus Johnson was Madison College’s first Black student and graduate.
JMU, formerly Madison College, is in the process of renaming buildings formerly named after Confederate leaders. One building, currently called Justice Studies Hall will be named for Darcus Johnson. The other two, Mountain Hall and Valley Hall, will be renamed Gabbin Hall and Harper Allen-Lee Hall respectively.
Darcus Johnson’s enrollment was first for Madison College, but for Darcus Johnson this wasn’t her first trail blazing academic move. A Harrisonburg native, she was also one of the first Black students to desegregate Harrisonburg High School.
Darcus Johnson now works as a pastor in the Richmond area.
According to news release from the university, she graduated from JMU in 1970 with her undergraduate degree in library science and finished her master’s in elementary education there in 1974.
Eventually her professional career brought her to Richmond where she taught library science at Virginia Commonwealth University. She then went on to do full-time ministry work.
Darcus Johnson went on to found a nonprofit called Better People Inc. Her organization provides people with the tools to “become more productive citizens.” She also founded a second nonprofit called The Ministry Connection, to mentor and train women in ministry.
Currently she serves as one of the pastors at Victory Family Worship Center.