Monday, October 11, 2010

W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Radio Special: Weds. 10/13/2010 @ 9pm c/ 10pm e**Concerning Our Father, Brother & Friend, Mr. Ernest Withers: Food For Thought From Colleagues, Associates & Peers...Part 4

 Celebrating 3 Years Strong & Still Got It Going On
***Radio Free Dixie For The 21st Century***

October 2010 Theme: Reclaiming Our Heritage

Air Date: Weds. October 13, 2010

Time: 9 PM C/10 PM E/7 PM P

Call-in Number: 646-652-4593


topic: Concerning Our Father, Brother & Friend, Mr. Ernest Withers:Food For Thought From Colleagues, Associates & Peers...Part 4

 Featured & Honorable Guests:
(Pre-Recorded Show, Call-in To Listen Only)

1.) Prof. Dorothy Butler Gilliam 

 Founder/Director Of Prime Movers Media

A pioneer and icon, she was the African American woman journalist hired by The Washington Post. She was with The Washington Post from October, 1961, until the mid-1960s, then again from 1972 until her retirement in 2003. During her time there, she wrote a regular column on education, politics and race, as well as her own personal experiences. She also edited the Style section and headed up the Young Journalist Development Program, an initiative to cultivate talented young people interested in journalism and create opportunities for minorities – who are often under-represented in newsrooms across the country.

Born in Memphis, Tenn., Gilliam holds a bachelor's degree from Lincoln University in Lincoln, Mo., and a master's from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Among her many accolades are her induction into the Society of Professional Journalists' Hall of Fame; the University of Missouri Honor Medal in Journalism (1998); and the Ann O'Hare McCormick Award from the New York Newspaper Women's Club.

Gilliam joined the School of Media and Public Affairs at the George Washington University as the Shapiro Fellow in September 2003. As a cub society reporter for the Tri-State Defender in Memphis, Tenn., in 1957, she defied her editor’s orders to stay in the newsroom and headed for Little Rock, Ark., to see – and maybe cover – the landmark intergration of Central High School. She found photographer Ernest Withers, made a truce with her angry editor, and covered some of the Little Rock story. Her enthusiasm and initiative impressed editors at Jet magazine, the leading black magazine across the country, and she quickly became an editor for Jet.


2.) Bro. Tony Decaneas

Ernest Withers' Agent & Owner Of The Decaneas Archives


3.) Bro. Roland Sheppard
A lifelong human rights activist, socialist and journalist who once worked for The Militant, the newspaper of the Socialist Workers Party. A supporter and friend of Malcolm X, he is one of the last people living to have witnessed the assassination of Malcolm X at the Audubon Ballroom:

W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Radio: A People's History: A Conversation With Bro. Roland Sheppard

Check Out Bro. Roland's debut on W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Radio: 
"Malcolm X: Man. Myth. Legacy."


Was He Or Wasn't He?
Decide For Yourself... 

Sanitation workers' strike. Memphis, Tenn. March 28, 1968 / Ernest Withers, Panopticon Gallery, Boston, Mass

“The media's the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that's power. Because they control the minds of the masses."
~Malcolm X

"The people must know before they can act, and there is no educator to compare with the press." ~Ida B. Wells-Barnett

"Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted."~Dr. Martin Luther King

Ernest Withers was once called The Dean Of Civil Rights Photographers for his amazing ability to be on the scene to turn extraordinary history-in-the-making-events with his camera into acclaimed iconic moments for posterity. Whether it was photographing the Emmett Till Trial, Dr. King's first ride on a Montgomery City Bus after a successful 381 day bus boycott, The Memphis Sanitation Workers' Strike complete with the very universal I AM A Man protest placards or the tragic death scene of a King for all of humanity (MLK), Mr. Withers' artistry spoke truth to power to both the good and the bad of the human condition and his work is forever seared (and defiantly so) into the consciousnesses of the National Memory.

However, with the revelation of him allegedly being involved with the FBI as an informant, his character, motives and intentions have now all been called into question. A person once so trusted and revered that he  was given intimate and unrestricted access to some of the most dynamic personalities and icons of  a people's movement  is now being labeled as a traitor and Judas. With the scheduled opening of the Ernest C. Withers Museum, his former studio, on legendary Beale Street this month, and the Withers Family waging a legal battle for control over their late father's intellectual property, will this accusation forever tar and feather an otherwise deserving and invaluable aesthetic legacy of providing emotionally riveting teaching moments in images from such a turbulent and yet hopeful time in U.S. history?  

One must also question the timing of this revelation: 
*Who is served by amplifying the shortcomings, both real and perceived, of Ernest Withers the man? 
*Who will control the narrative of a People's movement once control over Withers' invaluable contribution to a People's history is settled in the courts? 
*What is to be gained and what is to be lost?  
*What role has the U.S. Government played in undermining the civil liberties and human rights of its citizens? 
*What really was the nature and quality of the information given to the FBI by Bro. Withers? 
*Was Bro. Withers' participation consensual or forced through the FBI's abuse of power? 
*Did Bro. Withers' supposed information sharing truly undermine the nature and purpose of a People's Movement?  
*Did people needlessly get killed  or sent to prison because of his alleged collaboration?
*In terms of being an alleged informant with an impressive professional legacy, how does Withers fare in comparison with other proven informants and exceptional peers from the Civil Rights Era such as Thurgood Marshall and Alex Haley? 

In a 4-part series, W.E. A.L.L. B.E. News attempts to provide food for thought analysis on the subject by talking with the folks who knew Mr. Withers the best: his family, civil rights movement veterans and journalists who covered the American Civil Rights Movement. We will also garner responses from this current generation of news media journalists. We will attempt to put both Mr. Withers the man and his work in their appropriate contexts, something the corporate news media has failed miserably at doing up to this point. What will be revealed will be very eye opening and will prompt the listeners and participants alike to face uncomfortable truths and questions that need to be answered with more than just nuanced responses and cliches from a clueless pundit.  It will also force many in the general public to rethink their previous positions on the matter as well.

In the words of Flavor Flav: Don't Believe The Hype!

See Also... 

W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Radio: "Concerning Our Father, Brother & Friend, Ernest Withers: The Civil Rights Generation Speaks Out!"Part 1

W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Radio:"Concerning Our Father, Brother & Friend, Ernest Withers: The Civil Rights Generation Speaks Out!"Part 2

Tha Artivist Remembers Ernest Withers (1922-2007)...

The Commercial Appeal Story That Started The Controversy

Contact An American Civil Rights Veteran Today:

More Civil Rights Movement On W.E. A.L.L. B.E. :

Tha Artivist



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