14 September 2010

"amazing betrayal" civil rights photographer ernest c. withers was an fbi informant

new york times


ATLANTA — That photo of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. riding one of the first desegregated buses in Montgomery, Ala.? He took it.

The well-known image of black sanitation workers carrying “I Am a Man” signs in Memphis? His.

He was the only photojournalist to document the entire trial in the murder of Emmett Till, and he was there in Room 306 of the Lorraine Hotel, Dr. King’s room, on the night he was assassinated.

But now an unsettling asterisk must be added to the legacy of Ernest C. Withers, one of the most celebrated photographers of the civil rights era: He was a paid F.B.I. informer. ~ read more