Lutrill Payne African American education trailblazer to receive LSU medal posthumously

Tobie Blanchard  |  12/9/2015 3:32:21 AM

News Release Distributed 12/08/15

BATON ROUGE, La. – The LSU College of Agriculture will award the LSU University Medal posthumously to Lutrill Payne Sr. at its December commencement ceremony on Dec. 18 at 9 a.m. in the Maddox Fieldhouse.

Payne, born in 1910, was a native of Union Parish. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agriculture and agribusiness from Southern University before teaching agriculture in Union, DeSoto and Ouachita parishes.

Payne advocated for racial equality and education. In 1951, he filed suit against Louisiana State University and won a judgement leading to the desegregation of LSU’s graduate school. His efforts paved the way for African Americans to pursue advanced study at LSU and promoted equal opportunity within higher education throughout Louisiana.

Payne, who passed away in 1999, was also a veteran of World War II and the first African American to run for public office in Natchitoches.

Payne’s wife of 59 years, Pearl Payne, an LSU alumna, plans to attend the ceremony with many of her family and friends.

The University Medal is LSU’s highest academic honor.

Tobie Blanchard

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