Tag Archives: Ernest Withers

CNN: Pictures Don’t Lie-Takes a look at Ernest Withers

Tomorrow night CNN will air Pictures Don’t Lie at 8PM. During the Civil Rights era Ernest Withers chronicled the activities through his photography. He had access to all the key players and he move easily throughout their meetings. They trusted him, but last year it was revealed that he was an FBI informant. His family disputes this claim and many survivors of the movement find it hard to believe that he could have been a “snitch.” Tomorrow night Soledad O’Brien takes a look at the Ernest Withers story and I will be watching.

Noted Civil Rights photographer Ernest Withers was an FBI Informant

“Everyone in the civil rights movement knew Ernest Withers. For 40 years he slipped through private doorways and into privileged meetings with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Andrew Young, Medgar Evers, James Meredith, Rev. James Lawson and hundreds of others who defined the civil rights movement in America.” Withers was also an FBI informant. “A man who was a trusted documentarian of the civil rights movement had a secret that may well have altered history and surely will modify his own legacy. Reporter Marc Perrusquia first got wind of Ernest Withers being an FBI informant more than a decade ago. The whiff that Withers spied for the FBI came out at the time when James Earl Ray was spinning all kinds of conspiratorial tales designed to alter his infamous place in history as the assassin of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”* Withers died in 2007 and his family said they had no idea that he was an informant. This is a sad story that is as old as slavery. The master could always find a willing slave who would keep him abreast of the slave activities. Withers was that guy for the FBI. Now, Withers has two potent legacies: noted, trusted photographer and FBI rat.

*Commercial Appeal