Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Ernest Withers Dead at 85

Posted on Tue, Oct 16, 2007 at 4:00 AM

(AP) - Activist and photographer Ernest Withers, who helped record the civil rights struggle in the Mid-South, has died. He was 85.

His son, Joshua "Billy" Withers of Los Angeles, said his father died Monday night at the VA hospital in Memphis after suffering a stroke last month.

As a freelance photographer for black newspapers, Withers traveled with Martin Luther King Jr., Medgar Evers, and other figures in the civil rights movement, capturing on film the momentous events of the 1950s and 60s.

Withers also photographed jazz and blues musicians who frequented Memphis' famed Beale Street, such as Rufus Thomas, B.B. King, Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin. Withers' career spanned 60 years.

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