Alexander Lane embodies Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s tradition of serving a diverse student population, including the disadvantaged and first generation college students. His dedication to improving his own life is inspiring to today’s students who face their own unique challenges. The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute seeks to honor Dr. Lane by providing a precious gift he took full advantage of – an opportunity to excel.
The Alexander Lane Story
Alexander Lane was born in pre-Civil War Mississippi. His mother, a slave, sent him north with a Union Army Colonel with the promise of an education. He was raised on a farm in southern Illinois and in 1876 became the first African American male student at what was then called Southern Illinois Normal University.
Lane became an educator, serving as the first principal of Carbondale’s East Side School for Negroes, which later became Attucks School. He moved to Chicago where he graduated from Rush Medical College in 1895 and was appointed as the Cook County assistant physician.
In 1906, he was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives, making him just the ninth African American elected to the state legislature. He was re-elected in 1908. Lane died on November 13, 1911 and is buried in Carbondale.
The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute has commissioned the publication of an extensive research article detailing the life and legacy of Dr. Alexander Lane. University assistant professor Pamela Smoot is leading efforts to document Dr. Lane’s life and is being assisted by two students as research assistants.
The Alexander Lane Internship Program
The Alexander Lane Internship Program will send at least one student each spring to work with a minority member of the Illinois General Assembly, providing the student with challenging and rewarding assignments such as:
- - Reviewing and analyzing legislation
- - Researching issues to be used in the member’s creation of proposed legislation;
- - Attending policy briefings, press conferences, committee hearings and other governmental meetings and functions;
- - Interacting with and responding to constituents and the public; and
- - Establishing contacts with state agencies and other legislative offices to develop a full understanding of how state government works to meet the needs of the public.
Lane Interns will be selected by a committee chaired by the Simon Institute Director and comprised of other university faculty and staff, alumni and internship donors. The endowment fund provides students with a stipend for living expenses, transportation costs and other necessities during the internship.
Students will carry Dr. Lane’s legacy with them to Springfield and beyond as they follow their own path toward high achievement, public service and excellence through opportunity.
To apply, please fill out the form below.
To send by email:
1. Save PDF to desktop, fill out your information
2. Save edited PDF and add as an email attachment
You also may bring by your application to the Institute (Open 8 am - 4 p.m., Closed between noon and 1 p.m) and leave at the front desk.
Founding Members Club
Those who make a major contribution, pledge or planned gift of at least $5,000 by December 31, 2011, will be considered Founding Members—leaders of the efforts to preserve Alexander Lane’s place in history. Such donors will receive special recognition in future Institute publications. Those who respond by November 1, 2011, will be honored at the ceremony and public announcement about the Alexander Lane Internship program this fall. Founding Members recognition levels are:
AMOUNT RECOGNITION LEVEL
$50,000 Golden Benefactor
$25,000 Silver Benefactor
$10,000 Bronze Benefactor
Matt Baughman, Associate Director Tel: 618-453-4001
Paul Simon Public Policy Institute Fax: 618-453-7800
Carbondale, IL 62901 Web: paulsimoninstitute.org
(If you are a making an online donation at this time, please indicate in the Comments/Instructions Box on the SIU Foundation's page that this donation is to go to the Alexander Lane Internship Endowment.)