Isaac Lane was born March 4, 1834, in Madison County, Tennessee. Lane was born a slave on the plantation of Cullen Lane, and at age nineteen Lane married Frances Ann Boyce, also a slave, but from Haywood County. The Lanes had twelve children and several became ministers, educators, and physicians. In 1870 after freed slaves founded the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church (CME), Lane quickly became a popular minster of the denomination, and in 1872 he was chosen as a bishop. In 1882 Lane founded a Colored Methodist Episcopal Church (CME) school in Jackson, and Lane's daughter, Jennie Lane, served as the first teacher and principal of the institution. In preparation for petitioning for the school to gain college status, Lane selected a white Methodist pastor, Thomas F. Saunders, as the first president of the college to ease the process of peer recognition of the school. In 1907 Lane's son, James Franklin Lane, Ph.D. was chosen as president of Lane College and he served for thirty-seven years. In 1937 Bishop Lane died at the age of 102.
In addition to Lane College, a Merchant Marine Victory ship was named in Lane's honor during World War II. The SS Lane Victory is still afloat in San Diego, California and is the only WWII Victory ship still in active service.
- College Profile, Lane College website. Retrieved March 13, 2010.
- http://tennesseeencyclopedia.net/entry.php?rec=765 Retrieved February 20, 2013