Civil Rights leader Larry Payne:Forgotten Martyr
“He Died A Week Before MLK: Larry Payne, Forgotten Civil Rights Martyr…”
(Interview With Mother, Lizzie Payne, & Brother,Calvin Payne)
About The Larry Payne Story
“I was in my living room watching ‘As the World Turns.’ A lady ran in and told me Larry had been shot by the police. I ran out. I ran to touch him. The police would not let me touch him. He said, ‘Get back, nigger.’ He put the barrel of the gun right into my stomach. I could feel it.”~Lizzie Payne
Larry Payne, 16, died March 28, 1968, the only fatality in a day of riots and looting which erupted during a Memphis sanitation workers’ march led by Dr. King. 60 people were injured. King would later telephone Lizzie Payne to comfort her. He planned to visit her at her residence in the Fowler Homes housing projects. Before he could visit, he too was dead exactly a week later on April 4, 1968. King’s assassination overshadowed Larry Payne’s tragic death and turned the 16-year-old into an almost forgotten historical footnote except to his family.
Officer L.D. Jones stated that he and a fellow officer, Charles F. Williams, followed a group of Black youths carrying television sets from the Sears store at 903 S. Third to a basement in Fowler Homes. Jones later testified that he demanded anyone in the basement to surrender. Jones claimed that Payne came out with his left hand in the air and the right hand holding a knife. Officer Jones then fired a shotgun blast into Payne’s abdomen. However, witnesses including Larry’s mother said that Larry didn’t have a knife. As a matter of fact a knife was never recovered from the scene although police officials claimed that the knife was mistakenly dumped into the Mississippi River along with other weapons from their evidence room.
The Officer Who Shot Larry Payne, Memphis Police Officer L.D. Jones, Was Never Charged & Is Reportedly Still Alive.