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Editor’s note: Greater Union Life Center in DeLand is sponsoring Black History Month 2021 banners honoring 16 individuals who have made a positive impact on the city of DeLand, and Volusia County. The banners have been installed along Woodland Boulevard in Downtown DeLand, and The Beacon has compiled profiles of the individuals.

Joan Lane — civil-rights leader, professional educator

Joan Lane, a retired educator, has been a force in Volusia County politics, albeit a bit more behind-the-scenes than her sister, longtime politico Joyce Cusack.

Lane began her career as a teacher, and was the first Black teacher at an elementary school in East Volusia during integration. She spent 45 years in Volusia County Schools, teaching at Edith Starke Elementary and Blue Lake Elementary, both in DeLand, until her retirement.

Her daughter followed in her footsteps, and just retired after 33 years as a kindergarten teacher in Volusia County. Her son is a military veteran.

Long a member of Greater Union First Baptist Church, Lane has been active in the Volusia County Democratic Party for many years, and served as the state committee representative for 20 years (her last term ended in 2020). She also helped found the Volusia County Democratic Black Caucus.

“Everywhere I have been in politics, she’s been; my right hand, my sister Joan Lane,” Cusack told The Beacon.

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