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In 1882, one of the nation’s early black church denominations founded what has since evolved into Lane College. Now referred to as the Christian Methodist Episcopal (CME) Church, the organization was originally named the Colored Methodist Episcopal (CME) Church in America when it formed in 1870. Among its top priorities was the establishment of schools to educate the newly freed Negroes following the Civil War.

The enterprise of building a school in Tennessee was conceived as early as November 1878 at the CME denomination’s Tennessee Annual Conference. The CME Church’s first Bishop, William H. Miles, presided over the meeting, convened at the old Capers Chapel CME Church in Nashville. A pivotal moment of the Conference occurred when Reverend J.K. Daniels presented a resolution to establish a Tennessee school. Amid much applause, the resolution was adopted and a committee was appointed to solicit means to purchase a site. Reverends C.H. Lee, J.H. Ridley, Sandy Rivers, Barry Smith, and J. K. Daniels constituted this committee.