Professor William James was born in 1872 near Bartow, Georgia. At 35 years old, he returned to Statesboro in 1907 to open the City Colored School. In 1910, an industrial lab was added, changing the name of the school to City Colored Industrial School. Tragedy struck in 1924 when fire destroyed two buildings of the school. A new structure was built in 1924, and four years later under the leadership of William James, Statesboro High and Industrial School became one of the few accredited Negro high schools in the state.
On May 5, 1935, Professor William James died at the age of 63. In 1948, thirteen years after his death, the name Statesboro High and Industrial School was changed to William James High School in honor of him. A few years later, a new structure was built, along with other new high schools. Once the new building was complete, the old building became William James Elementary School but was destroyed by fire in January of 1958. Years later a new structure was built on Williams Road and was named William James Junior High School. Eventually, the name was changed to William James Middle School.
Due to the population increase of students in Bulloch County, William James Middle School was moved to the newly remodeled and enlarged Northside School on Highway 80 in 1998. The old building has been remodeled and is now the William James Complex, home to the Bulloch County Board of Education.