Lane College in the West Tennessee city of Jackson is a private Black college associated with the Christian Methodist Episcopal (formerly the Colored Methodist Episcopal) Church. In fact, Lane is the first college established by the CME church. The four remaining CME colleges include Paine College in Augusta, Georgia, Miles College in Fairfield, Alabama (Metropolitan Birmingham), Texas College in Tyler, Texas, and the Phillips School of Theology housed in the Interdenominational Theological Center, Atlanta, Georgia. Mississippi Industrial College, was established by the CME church in Holly Springs, Mississippi, in 1905 and closed in the 1982. Lane is located between Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee’s two largest cities, so students are only a short trip away from an NBA Memphis Grizzlies game or Sunday night football with the NFL Tennessee Titans.
Upon arrival on campus, I noticed the potential of Lane College. The campus is not far from Tennessee’s main interstate, I-40, and Jackson is the largest city between the state’s two largest metropolitan areas. Not to be outdone by Memphis or Nashville, Jackson has a history and style all its own. The campus is full of historic markers commemorating Lane’s contributions to the city and the region.
Lane was founded in 1882, and because the administration chose to renovate and maintain rather than to demolish and rebuild, most of the campus is registered as a site of national historic significance with the State of Tennessee and the United States Department of the Interior. Along with renovated and restored historic buildings, Lane hosts modern academic and auxiliary buildings to facilitate the college’s growth in academic offerings and enrollment.
One building stood out among the rest to me on the Lane campus: the CMAC. Lane College’s Chambers-McClure Academic Center. CMAC houses the library, the main assembly room Graves Auditorium, and serves as the overall academic hub of campus. The CMAC’s bold architecture makes it stand out among the more historic structures on campus.
The most memorable part of campus was the Methodist art work commemorating the Tennessee Burned Churches in the ten years between 1988 and 1998. Painfully true, the words inscribed on the monument reads “Churches are still burning.” Topped by the National Coalition for Burned Churches logo, the monument lists the names, months, and years of all the churches burned in Tennessee from 1988 to 1998. To get through the pain, to overcome the pressure to fear and rage, I believe Lane presents another option, pressing toward the mark for the prize of high calling of GOD in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14). The monument commemorates the burned churches, the campus itself represents that we as a people are still standing, and the cross atop the monument reminds us of the promise of better things to come. The monument to burned churches does more than remind me of how much racist hate us, it also allows for reflection on GOD’s grace and remembering His record of delivering people from seemingly insurmountable situations.
Lane College’s intimate 55-acre campus setting, 2 to 1 student to computer ratio, and average student enrollment of 1,500 provide an optimal set up for a liberal arts education. Lane offers bachelor’s degrees in 18 major fields. Additionally, through a collaboration with Tennessee State University, Nashville’s only public university, Lane provides its students with the chance to earn a degree in engineering. The dual degree program allows Lane students majoring in engineering to receive a Bachelor’s of Science degree in math from Lane and a bachelors’s of science in engineering from Tennessee State University.
From historic landmarks to modern facilities, Lane knows The Power of Progress
Offering dual degrees with Tennessee State University, Lane knows The Power of Partnerships
Overall, Lane College knows, promotes, and exemplifies The Power of Potential
Visit the Lane College website for more information