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Tue, 03.04.1834

Isaac Lane, Bishop born

Isaac Lane

*Isaac Lane was born on this date in 1834.  He was a Black minister and administrator. 

Born in Madison County, Tennessee, Lane grew up as a slave on the plantation of Cullen Lane. At age nineteen Lane married Frances Ann Boyce, an eighteen-year-old slave woman from neighboring Haywood County. The couple had twelve children, who became ministers, educators, and physicians.  In 1870, during the chaos of Emancipation and Reconstruction, freedmen established the CME Church, and Lane gained prominence among the clergy of the fledgling congregations.

In 1872 Lane was elected a bishop of the church and assigned to the Tennessee area.  In 1882 Lane founded a CME school in Jackson to provide education for freedmen. Bishop Lane's daughter, Jennie Lane, became the first teacher and principal of the new school. When the school applied for college status, Lane chose a white Methodist minister, Thomas F. Saunders, to serve as the first president. His choice reflected the racial reality of the period and allowed the new college to establish a stronger position in the Jackson community.

In 1907 Bishop Lane's son, James Franklin Lane, completed his PhD. and became the president of Lane College. His distinguished service to the college continued for the next thirty-seven years. During his tenure Lane College lived up to the belief of Bishop Lane that education must keep pace with the changing times and needs of the people. Isaac Lane, the Fourth bishop of the Colored (Christian) Methodist Episcopal (CME) Church died in 1936, at the age of 102.  During World War II, in recognition of the contributions of Bishop Lane to the field of education, the United States named a Merchant Marine Victory ship in his honor. The USS Lane based in San Diego.  

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