Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Revealing New Black History: Ernest Withers

You may or may not be familiar with the name Ernest Withers.  However, one thing is for sure.  You know him. You may have never seen his face, but you have seen his EYES.  Ernest Withers, was a Memphis native, and a freelance photographer during the Civil Rights Movement.  He is solely credited for capturing the imagery of one of the most historical movements in history.  His images helped to send out the faces of the Civil Rights Movement to the entire world.  Here are a couple of his works below.  Im sure one, or a few are familiar to you!

View a slideshow of his pictures here on the Commerical Appeal website.  If you recognize any of these pictures, you have seen the eyes of Mr. Ernest Withers.  It was his photographic eye that captured these moments as he traveled with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other Civil Rights Activist.  He was there at some of the most intimate times of the movement.  However, it was just recently revealed that Mr. Withers may have been an FBI informant, meaning he gave private insight about the dealings of the Civil Rights movement.  Ironically, the Commerical Appeal, a Memphis Newspaper, was first to break this story.  Read it here.  It is believed that Withers provided the location of Dr. King that ultimately led to his murder.  Furthermore, possibly provided information about King's funeral arrangments to the FBI.
Everyone has seen this photo, taken by none other than Mr. Withers.

CNN has picked up the story and will be airing a special on Sunday February 20, 2010, entitled "Pictures Don't Lie".  Does this information, if true, change history as we know it?  As one Civil Rights leader, cleverly pointed out, the purpose of the Non-Violent movement was to let the world know what they were doing and where they were going.  He also stated, Dr. King would probably be happy that Mr. Withers was on the FBI payroll, arguably intergration at its finest.  The family of Mr. Withers finds these allegations to be hardly true.  Who knows?  The paper trail and primarily the intimate photos, do tell a lot.  I encourage you to catch the CNN Special.  You may learn a new Black History!!


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