Ayden NC – King Holiday Disrespected By Small NC Town, Payne Asked To Resign (Updated)

Dr King Holiday Disrespected by Small Southern Town

On January 19, 2009, Ayden, N.C. Planning and Zoning Board chairman, Terry C. Payne dishonored Dr. Martin Luther King’s Holiday. Mr. Payne unlocked the courthouse doors, presided over the Planning and Zoning meeting, also marked the members who refused to attend absent. Mr. Payne admitted to having adequate knowledge of the holiday but insisted on meeting with the all white board members in the absence of the two black members who informed him not to meet.  Stephen Tripp, the town’s mayor finally apologized three months later calling Payne’s actions a mistake and said it would be corrected. The truth is Mr. Payne made NO MISTAKE because of his prior knowledge of the holiday. His intentional violation of the town’s ordinance is a crime, and was consistent with a PROTEST.  The mayor continues to misguide the public regarding this mockery and his promise of correction does not include the removal of Mr. Terry C. Payne from office. This has outraged the African Americans of this small town and throughout Pitt County.

On May 11, 2009 Planning Board member, Ivory Mewborn gave a presentation to the mayor and board of commissioners asking for Mr. Payne’s removal. As of June 10, 2009, the mayor and his board had not complied. In addition, the mayor has stated that the town’s November 1993 ordinance for the Dr. King Holiday applied only to its board of commissioners. We plead for your intervention to correct the mockery of Dr. King’s Holiday.


Ivory L. Mewborn

(252) 367-8609 / ivcox@embarqmail.com






May 11, 2009

My name is Ivory Mewborn, a lifelong resident of Ayden, North Carolina and a member of the Ayden Planning and Zoning board. I would like for the Mayor of Ayden and the board of commissioners to know that the extensive investigation to the reason Mr. Terry Payne violated the town ordinance of 1993 and the National holiday set aside to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is over. I want all of you to know the African-Americans assembled here tonight are a peaceful people and will continue the way of peace in our non-violent campaign. From the day our fathers set their feet on this soil our cry has been for justice and our cry is for justice tonight. The town of Ayden is in trouble because of the internal decadence existing within the structure of power in this town. I will shorten my story.

Mayor Tripp, Mr. Terry Payne broke a town ordinance and disrespected a national holiday set aside to honor our fallen leader, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Though some may instantly choose to embrace this event as being about black and white. This event is really about wrong and right. It just happens that black people are the ones who have been disrespected by the members who attended the Planning Board meeting on the national holiday set aside to honor Dr. King. This is disrespect to the highest degree of disrespect. This is the reason we are here tonight.

Now, Mr. Terry Payne, Ayden’s Planning Board chairman has never held a board meeting on a holiday such as Thanksgiving, Veterans Day, New Years Day or Christmas day or Christmas Eve or the 4th of July. And it is an insult to hold a meeting on a holiday set aside to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

An amendment was passed by the town board of commissioners on Dec. 13, 1993 that indicates Martin Luther King Jr. birthday should be observed as a holiday along with Veteran’s day and other town observed holidays. This holiday has been in place since 1993. Therefore the amended ordinance Ayden’s commissioners passed the other week will make it appear this ruthless act will never happen again. Well this ruthless act should have never happen in the first place. Terry Payne broke the law by violating the town ordinance of 1993 and the Federal Holiday honoring Dr. King at the same time. If he hadn’t broken the town ordinance of 1993 there would be no need for another holiday ordinance or amendment like the one you just put in place, Mayor Tripp. Mr. Payne actions are being labeled as his way of PROTESTING Dr. King’s holiday one day and President Obama’s inauguration the next day. I will show that he intentionally broke the town’s ordinance while in the chairman position.

The courthouse doors where the Planning Board held their meeting with no African Americans present should never have been unlocked on this national holiday. This means that if Mr. Terry Payne has no regard or respect for Dr. King that he also has no regard or respect for you, me or the black people who live in Ayden, North Carolina. Congress and the presidency of the United States have declared this a national holiday to honor Dr. King and Mr. Payne violated it. The Planning Board members that did not attend were even marked absent!!!

· Now according to the words that came out of your mouth Mayor Tripp, you said Mr. Payne made a mistake and we as humans make mistakes. Well, I agree we as humans do make mistakes. But the audience here tonight agrees this was no ways close to a mistake. WHERE’S THE PROOF IT WASN’T A MISTAKE? WELL, LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT WHAT WE KNOW. We know Mr. Payne couldn’t enter the doors of PITT COMM. COLLEGE where he was attending at the time because of this holiday. We know ALL SCHOOLS IN AMERICA WERE CLOSED and THE CHILDREN AND TEACHERS WERE OUT OF SCHOOL, We know ALL THE BANKS WERE CLOSED. We know that ALL POST OFFICES WERE CLOSED. We know ALL COURTHOUSES in the STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA were OFFICIALLY closed including the one he unlocked to have the meeting in. We know that even the doors used to enter the building where this courthouse sits were locked plus had a notice placed on the front of the door that indicated they were to remain closed and to be open the NEXT DAY. We know that Mr. Payne could not pay his UTILITY BILL because the office doors of this building WERE LOCKED. These truths reflect that Mr. Payne it was a national holiday beyond the shadow of a doubt. If Mr. Payne did not know then you could say he made a mistake. A mistake is not a mistake when you know better. It’s only a mistake when you don’t know any better. When you do something after you know it is wrong and proceed to do it, it is not called a mistake it is called an intentional act. This selfish act of Mr. Payne is consistent with a MODERN DAY PROTEST. If I though these actions were a mistake I would have forgiven Mr. Payne before any one sitting is this room. I’m almost done.

· Mr. Mayor, allow me to read to the town of Ayden citizens what a mistake really is, not according to my definition or your definition but according to the Webster dictionary definition of a mistake.

· MISTAKE: 1: a misunderstanding of the meaning or implication of something 2. inadequate knowledge


· Mr. Mayor with all due respect, your investigation was like performing an operation. You looked into the problem, sewed up the wound, and led us to believe everything was going to be alright. But you refused to take the cancer out. The cancer is someone making decisions for the entire town of Ayden without any regard or respect for all of its people. Mr. Payne is still in authority making key decisions for the town and he must go. He is not only an embarrassment to black folk, but he is an embarrassment to the whole town of Ayden and the whole state of North Carolina. He is an embarrassment in more ways than one and you know what I’m talking about.

· Tonight is May 11, 2009 and this incident occurred on January 19, 2009. This is four months later and Mr. Payne has never apologized for his actions. FOUR MONTHS LATER! He had 120 different days and he had 120 different nights to apologize and Mr. Payne HAS NOT APOLOGIZED. I want to be clear Mr. Mayor. Any apology Mr. Payne offers at this point will be viewed as arrogant, divisive, conniving, and UNACCEPTABLE to the African Americans of this town. He serves in a position of accountability and he will be held accountable for his actions along with all of those who have supported his embarrassing actions. (Miss Dixon and Mrs. Pritchard included.) Mr. Terry Payne’s removal from office is the only thing we will accept.

· Right now this is small town news but if it is not corrected it will surely balloon into national news and Ayden will be known as the laughing stock of the south. Your continued support of Mr. Payne’s actions will only show that you are just as guilty as he is. So let me make this perfectly clear. Mr. Mayor I am asking you or whom ever it is that has the power to do so, to remove Mr. Terry Payne from his position immediately. Immediately means within the next 5 business days, starting May 12, 2009 at 9 AM and ending May 18, 2009 at 5 PM. If not we will move our quest for justice to a much higher level than this courtroom. At this time I will take any questions or concerns that anyone may have. If not. May god bless you all.

Forwarded per Ivory Mewborn

Originally posted: June 2, 2009

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