MEMPHIS, TN (AP) - The revelation that a revered civil rights photographer also was an FBI informant who tipped investigators about the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. has left his children denying he was a snitch and spurred some movement veterans to try to explain why he might have helped the feds.
This was to be the season when the late civil rights photographer Ernest C. Withers would be honored for his historic work, with his photos displayed at a museum bearing his name.
Instead, an investigation by The Commercial Appeal unmasked him as an informant who regularly tipped authorities about civil rights movement participants from at least 1968 to 1970.
The newspaper reviewed thousands of pages of federal documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.