From Black Voices — If you don’t know the name Ernest Withers (pictured above), I can guarantee that you know of his work. Remember the famous and horrible picture of Emmett Till (pictured below)? Withers took that one. Consider nearly every well-known picture of Dr. Martin Luther King you can remember. Well, Withers probably took that one too. Ernest Withers had access to Civil Rights leaders like no other.

He was also found to have been an informant for the FBI. The Commercial Appeal in Memphis conducted a two-year investigation in to the life of Withers, who died in 2007. The investigation found that Withers allegedly worked with two FBI agents to keep an eye on the Civil Rights Movement. Withers was known to have been very close to Dr. King and to have had his trust.

“It is an amazing betrayal,” said Athan Theoharis, a historian, told the New York Times. “It really speaks to the degree that the FBI was able to engage individuals within the civil rights movement. This man was so well-trusted.”

Reports say that from 1968 to 1970, Withers provided photos and other detailed information to the FBI about the schedules and whereabouts of Civil Rights figures.

Withers’ identity was apparently released by accident.

In most of the FBI reports, references to Withers were blocked out, replaced by his informant number, ME 338-R, but on several occasions, agents forgot to remove his name.

(Continue Reading @ Black Voices…)

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  • YouSayTomatoIsayTomatoe

    You could look at this two ways:

    1. The FBI intentionally released his name to smear him and not allowed him to be treasured for the pictorial contributions he has made to America on a whole via the Civil Rights Movement. (conspiracy theory #1) Big brother is always watching and will use those closest to you to do the watching.

    2. He was yet another victim of the climate during the Civil Rights Movement, that may have been threatened with losing a host of things had he not participated in their covert operations. An accident tourist so to speak.

    Which ever way, his work will be a living testament of what we have overcome and many are still attempting to over come. Discrimination now is more indirect and submissive now opposed to the in your face tactics of yore.

  • America has done some dirty low-down sh!t (and has a filthy track record around the world) to it’s own people, so I’m hardly surprised.

    It’s FBI also infiltrated white racist groups like the Ku Klux Klan, National States’ Rights Party etc., but many organizations formed backed in the day from the Black Panthers (extremely sexist and chauvinist according to Safiya Bukhari and Kathleen Cleaver) to the Nation of Islam (Elijah Mohammed’s continuous hoing around and impregnating young females, murder of X) self-destructed from the inside out.

    It’s sad because many of these movements started out with noble goals but egos, hypocrisy, jealousy, infighting, mismanagement of funds, crabs in a barrel, jockeying for position and leadership etc. ran rampant. With the presence of these elements, it was easy for a COINTELPRO to infiltrate, plant moles, spot all weak links, step in and wreck shop!

  • I am a modern girl who firmly follows the fashion trend.