Side A: The Lanes, Baptist merchants from New Orleans, and the Kempers, a Presbyterian family from Cincinnati, gave money and land respectively for Cincinnati’s first manual labor theological seminary and high school, which opened in suburban Walnut Hills in 1829. The Reverend Lyman Beecher came from Boston as its first president. The president’s house, now known as the Stowe House after Beecher’s daughter Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, still remains at Gilbert and Foraker. Lane Theological Seminary, bound by present day Gilbert, Chapel, Park, and Yale streets, continued to educate Presbyterian ministers until 1932, when it was merged with McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago.
Side B: In the winter of 1834, the students of Lane Theological Seminary, including some southerners and one African-American former slave, organized an eighteen-night revival under the leadership of Theodore Dwight Weld. These antislavery debates over immediate abolition versus colonization effectively converted almost all the students to abolition. American newspapers publicized the debates, and women supporters, “the Cincinnati Sisters,” organized local schools for African-American children. When the trustees prohibited the students from discussing controversial issues, most of the students withdrew, set up a seminary in exile in Cumminsville, and then moved it to Oberlin College. The Lane Seminary Debates marked the shift in American antislavery efforts from colonization to abolition, and the “Lane Rebels” became ministers, abolitionists, and social reformers across the country.