SIU prepares presentation on first African-American male student
Southern Illinois University (SIU) at Carbondale will host a special event, "Alexander Lane: From Slavery to Freedom" on Feb. 16, honoring its first African-American male student.
The presentation starts at 3 p.m. in the John C. Guyon Auditorium at Morris Library. Pamela Smoot, a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Africana Studies, is the presenter.
Lane was born before the Civil War. His mother, a slave, sent Lane north with a Union army official who promised an education for the boy. Lane lived in Tamaroa when he enrolled at SIU Carbondale in 1876. Two women of African-American descent had enrolled at SIU before Lane.
SIU was known as Southern Illinois Normal University at that time. Lane later became the first principal of Attucks School, then went to a medical college and became the Cook County assistant physician. He was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives in 1906.
SIU’s Paul Simon Public Policy Institute created the Alexander Lane Internship Program in his honor, enabling at least one student each spring to learn from a minority member of the Illinois General Assembly.
Morris Library and its Special Collections Research Center are sponsoring the free presentation, which is open to the public.