Item #6944 Some Things We Saw While Abroad: A Visit to Europe, the Holy Land and Egypt. [Inscribed by J.F. Lane]. Lane, Mary Edna Lane, ames, ranklin.
Some Things We Saw While Abroad: A Visit to Europe, the Holy Land and Egypt. [Inscribed by J.F. Lane]

Some Things We Saw While Abroad: A Visit to Europe, the Holy Land and Egypt. [Inscribed by J.F. Lane]

Boston, Massachusetts: The Christopher Publishing House, (1941). 7 5/8” x 5 3/8”. Blue cloth over boards, gilt, with dust jacket. Pp. xv, 17-224 + 14 (of 14) plates of photographic images interspersed. Book very good plus with some foxing to the spine. Dust jacket very good with small chips and light dust soiling. Inscribed by J.F. Lane on the ffep.

This is an illustrated and inspiring travelogue, authored by a noteworthy husband/wife team of Tennessee educators, with a wonderful inscription which showcases a rich HBCU connection.

James Franklin Lane was the son of Bishop Isaac Lane, one of the founders of the Col*red Methodist Episcopal (CME) Church, now known as the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1882, Bishop Lane founded the CME High School, in Jackson, Tennessee. The school established a college department in 1896 and was renamed Lane College in his honor. J.F. Lane served as president of Lane College from 1907 until his death in 1944. Under his leadership, the school became one of the few African American colleges to be accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. Lane's wife, Mary Edna Johnson Lane, was also an educator, teaching in high schools in Memphis and Knoxville as well as at Lane College. She was active in the CME church, pioneering their foreign missionary work, and striving to improve race relations through her service in the American Missionary Association. She also served as president of the Tennessee Federation of Col*red Women's Clubs, and organized the Athenian Art Club in Jackson, which provided scholarships to students.

The book describes the Lanes' 1930 trip to the British Isles, the European continent, Egypt, Palestine, Jerusalem and other parts of the Holy Land. Its preface implied their hope that their experience would inspire other Black people to travel as the Lanes intended the work to:

“create in the minds and hearts of the readers a greater respect for and a deeper interest in other people living in other countries, as well as a greater desire to promote human interest and welfare; for after all, world sympathy and world brotherhood are among the most valuable fruits of travel and study.”

The book offers an impressive combination of historical data, practical advice, religious discourse and compelling personal observations. The authors expressed their pleasure at being treated respectfully and cordially by foreigners and white American tourists alike:

“There was absolutely nothing that we saw during the entire trip to confirm certain statements found in some American papers about a growing discrimination against American Ne*roes in the old world. That would seem really out of harmony with the development of those people who long since learned cosmopolitan ideas and ideals.”

The Lanes spent some time in a largely Black section of London, and “got an insight into the inner social, religious and economic life such as no amount of reading would have given.” They met people of their race from various nations, conversed with them, learned their reasons for making London their home, and set the tone for the rest of the trip:

“After that experience, we made it a practice, whenever possible, to leave our hotel in each city visited and go out among the common people – the natives, particularly, so as to learn . . . how they live. These visits constituted some of our richest and most valuable experiences while abroad.”

The text included religious and poetic descriptions of the Lanes' visit to the Wailing Wall, the Dead Sea, the Garden of Gethsemane, and a Muslim mosque. It has 16 photographic images on 14 plates, several of which depict the authors. One chapter was dedicated to their observations of the Zionist movement in Palestine. They also visited the YMCA in Cairo, where they were greeted by an American secretary who told them that “discrimination on account of race is unknown there, since its practice would be unchristian and such would destroy the purpose of the effort.” The authors also described their captivating experiences in Egypt,

“the first section of the world to step out of the mists of tradition into the daylight of positive records of its past achievements . . . in every field of human endeavor and knowledge. The story of its achievements has been unmistakably written in its monuments – the most stupendous to be unearthed by an inquisitive new race whose determination is to find the truth as it actually is.”

A compelling and informative depiction of two noted educators' travels abroad and likely intended to encourage other African Americans to similarly travel. OCLC shows thirteen holdings. Very good. Item #6944

Price: $1,350.00

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