Photographer Ernest Withers doubled as FBI informant to spy on civil rights movement
The Commercial Appeal
A photographer whose presence was as ubiquitous as it was understated in the civil rights movement covered everything from the Emmett Till murder to the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. as a freelancer for America's black press -- and as an informant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
The Commercial Appeal only learned of Withers' identity as a confidential informant as a result of one line within a 369-page collection of documents pertaining to a 1970s public corruption probe.
Ernest Withers, photographer, civil rights, civil rights movement, Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI, informant, confidential informant, probe, public corruption, Memphis, Invaders, J. Edgar Hoover, COINTELPRO, domestic spying, surveillance, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, USCCR
The disclosure of Withers' "confidential informant" identifier led The Commercial Appeal to file a follow-up FOIA request for the FBI's confidential informant file on Withers. That material has not been forthcoming, despite administrative appeals and an attempt at mediation. The lawsuit was pending as of August 25, 2011.
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