History of Ligon

  • In September 1953, Ligon Junior-Senior High School opened as the City of Raleigh High School for African-Americans who previously attended Washington School on Fayetteville Street. Its cost of nearly $1 million was the largest school construction project in the state. The school was named for John W. Ligon, a well-respected educator and community leader in Raleigh whose house and school were located on Lenoir Street. H.E. Brown was named Principal. The Washington Alma Mater’s school colors were Blue and Gold and their mascot “Little Blues’ were adopted by Ligon High School. To this day, they continue to represent Ligon Middle School.


    John W. Ligon

    John W. Ligon was a well-respected community leader, preacher, businessman, and educator in Raleigh, North Carolina. Born in Wake County in 1869, he went on to graduate from Shaw University and spent 26 years working in education as both a teacher and principal.


    Timeline of Ligon

    1953: John W. Ligon High School was founded (which replaced Washington High) and became Raleigh's only black high school.

    1971: John W. Ligon High School is desegregated and is converted into a junior high.

    1982: Ligon was formally consolidated into the Wake County Public School System and became involved in the Magnet Program.


    Notable Alumni

    John Baker (1954) - NFL Football Player, 1st African-American sheriff in North Carolina since Reconstruction Era

    Joe Holt (1960) - First student in Raleigh to apply to integrate schools, civil rights pioneer, Air Force officer 

    Chuck Davis (1954) - Dancer and founder of DanceAfrica and the African American Dance Ensemble

    Staley B. Keith (1957) - Politician and civil rights activist

    Ralph Campbell, Jr. (1964) - Auditor of North Carolina and first African-American to hold elected office in NC

    Mel Tomlinson (1971) - Award winning Ballet dancer

Photo of John W. Ligon.

John W. Ligon

John W. Ligon

Members of the 1968 class of John W. Ligon High School

Cheer Squad 1968

The 1968 cheerleading squad