James Stanley Lane, Jr., recipient of the 2019 Archie Green Award, died on December 27, 2022.
A native of Crisfield, James Lane, for much of his life, doggedly pursued an interest in the history and traditions of African Americans and their work in the seafood industry. Over the years, he focused on the occupational culture of seafood workers in the Chesapeake. He was involved in oral history fieldwork, heritage tourism, and museum development. Lane participated as a community scholar in several public folklife initiatives, including the American Folklife Center/Library of Congress and Salisbury University’s 2003 Summer Folklife Field School, the Delmarva Folklife Project, the Smithsonian Community Scholars Program, and the Chesapeake Bay Conference. In October 2002 he was selected as one of five community scholars from across the nation to attend the American Folklore Society’s annual meeting in Rochester, New York, as guests of the Society.
He studied at Salisbury University, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, the University of Maryland, and the University of Dakar (Senegal). He was chairman of the board for the Crisfield Heritage Foundation and the Governor J. Millard Tawes Museum in Crisfield. In addition to his work as a community scholar, Lane was a gospel singer and a storyteller who delighted listeners with his accounts of Chesapeake Bay life.
In the face of major transitions within Crisfield, Lane was a vocal supporter of the needs of the community in relation to the town’s living traditions and culture. He was a strong supporter of local heritage initiatives within Crisfield, and a tireless advocate for the cultural traditions of the area’s citizens.
Watch The African American Folklorist documentary series, episode 2: “The Elders Paved The Way” with James Lane , Community Scholar, Folklorist, and Archie Green Fellowship Winner.
“This was an interview I conducted when I first met James! He was a great human who sought knowledge and wisdom. Very encouraging and worked to make sure his community was properly represented.”
–Lamont Pearley, Editor in Chief, The African American Folklorist
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