National Institute on Aging

Southern Illinois University Honors Its First Black Male Student

Alexander Lane

The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale has announced the establishment of the Alexander Lane Internship Program. The paid internship will allow one student at the university to work with a minority member of the Illinois General Assembly. The first internship is scheduled to be awarded for the spring 2013 semester.

Alexander Lane was the first African American man to enroll at what is now Southern Illinois University. Born in pre-Civil War Mississippi, Lane matriculated at Southern Illinois in 1876, two years after the first students had enrolled. He went on to become a school principal, a physician, and an Illinois state legislator. He was an 1895 graduate of Rush Medical College in Chicago. In 1906 he was the ninth African American elected to the Illinois General Assembly. Lane died in Chicago in 1911.


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