SCLC leader backs effort to free death row inmate Pervis Payne


MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The fight to free Memphian Pervis Payne from death row is getting the support of the national Southern Christian Leadership Conference. 

Dr. Charles Steele, the president and CEO of the SCLC, was at the National Civil Rights Museum on Thursday. He’s in Memphis this week to voice his support of the movement to have Payne released from prison. 

“If you believe in fairness, you need to get behind this movement on Pervis Payne, you need to march right now,” Steele said. “You need to understand what Dr. King said when he said ‘Silence in the face of evil is evil itself.’ You’re just as bad as the prosecutor and people who want to execute him if you don’t open your mouth and support this movement. Free Pervis Payne.”

Related coverage: Pervis Payne

Payne is convicted of the 1987 deaths of Charisse Christopher of Millington and her two-year-old daughter, Lacie. 

Attorneys for Payne are seeking clemency saying Payne is intellectually disabled and the case was flawed and tainted with racism.

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