Joseph Franklin Cummings provided leadership to the community from 1888 to 1889, at
which time he organized Brownsville's first public school system. On Labor Day, 1951, Cummings Junior High, named in his honor, opened as one of the most modern public school buildings in Texas. A long, low school building, the 30-room facility featured a Harmon lighting system that utilized natural light to reduce glare, wide terrazo-tiled corridors, gas overhead blower-type heating system, and a "cafetorium" which combined the cafeteria and auditorium. Notably, Cummings featured "greenboards" to replace the old time "blackboards."