Ernest C. Withers (American, 1922–2007) First Desegregated Bus Ride: Dr. Martin Luther King and Rev. Ralph Abernathy on first desegregated bus, Montgomery, Alabama, December 1956, from the portfolio I am a Man, 1956 Gelatin silver print Oberlin Friends of Art Fund, 2004.6.2
Uncovering the hidden archives of the civil rights movement
Ernest Withers (August 7, 1922 - Otober 15, 2007) was an Army photographer during World War II and after the war became one of Memphis' first African American police officers. His career as a civil rights photographer began with the funeral of Emmitt Till, and he often traveled with Dr. Martin Luther King. He also photographed Negro League Baseball and blues performers on Beale Street. In 2010 it was revealed he had been a paid FBI informant from 1958 to 1972. #TodayInBlackHistory
Maude Callen on duty. In December 1951, LIFE published one of the most extraordinary photo essays ever to appear in the magazine. In W. Eugene Smith’s pictures, the story of a tireless South Carolina nurse and midwife named Maude Callen working in the rural South in the 1950s. She served as “doctor, dietician, psychologist, bail-goer and friend” to thousands of poor (most of them desperately poor) patients — only two percent of whom were white.