February 24, 2012

Media Advisory – Alexander Lane program

A program detailing the life and legacy of Alexander Lane, a prominent Chicago physician who was the first African American male student at what would become Southern Illinois University Carbondale, is set for next week.

Reporters, photographers and camera crews are welcome to attend a reception and program that will honor Lane, who rose from slavery in pre-Civil War Mississippi to become an educator, physician and Illinois state representative from Chicago.  The reception starts at 5:30 p.m. and the program at 6:30 p.m., Monday, Feb. 27, at Rush University Medical Center, Armour Academic Center, Room 994, 600 S. Paulina St., Chicago.

Sponsored by SIU Carbondale’s Paul Simon Public Policy Institute and Rush Medical Center, the event will also highlight the Alexander Lane Internship Program. The paid internship will allow at least one student each spring to work with a minority member of the Illinois General Assembly toward a goal of carrying on Lane’s legacy of high achievement and public service.  The Institute has already received contributions and pledges of more than $100,000 toward the endowment.

David Yepsen, Institute director, historian Pamela A. Smoot, a clinical assistant professor at SIU Carbondale, and Matt Baughman, Institute associate director, will be available throughout the day for interviews.  Contact Baughman at 618/201-0082 to arrange for interviews any time during the day.

Lane became the first African American male student at then-Southern Illinois Normal University in 1876. After attending SINU, which was a teachers college, Lane became the first principal of the black Carbondale primary school, before moving with his family to Chicago.  He graduated from Rush University Medical College in 1895 and established his own medical practice, becoming a prominent physician on the city’s south side.  In 1906, Lane became the ninth African American elected to the Illinois General Assembly, and he was re-elected in 1908.            Lane died in November 1911 in Chicago.