Lane College was founded in 1882 by the Colored Methodist Episcopal (C.M.E.) Church in America as the “C.M.E. High School” and named after Methodist Bishop Isaac Lane who co-founded the school. Planning for the school had begun in 1878, but the school's establishment was delayed by a yellow fever epidemic in the region in 1878. Its primary purpose was the education of newly freed slaves, and the original curriculum focused on the preparation of "teachers and preachers."
The Lane College Department of Athletics sponsors men's intercollegiate baseball, basketball, football, cross country, and tennis along with women's intercollegiate softball, basketball, cross country, volleyball and tennis.
SS Lane Victory, a World War II Victory Ship, and one of the few such ships surviving, was named for Lane College. It is now docked in San Pedro, California (which is part of the commercial harbor area of Los Angeles to the south of downtown). It is now open as a museum.