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Bluff City : the secret life of photographer Ernest Withers

Call Number

  • 921 W8241L (CEN, POW)

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First edition.

Publication Information

New York ; London : W. W. Norton & Company, [2019]

Physical Description

339 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm


"The little-known story of an iconic photographer, whose work captured--and influenced--a critical moment in American history. Ernest Withers took some of the most legendary images of the 1950s and 60s: Martin Luther King Jr. riding a newly integrated bus in Montgomery, Alabama; Emmett Till's uncle pointing an accusatory finger across the courtroom at his nephew's killer. But from his position at the heart of the cultural revolution, Withers was simultaneously gathering information for the FBI. Withers traversed disparate worlds, from Black Power meetings to raucous Memphis nightclubs where Elvis brushed shoulders with B. B. King. In this gripping narrative history, Preston Lauterbach examines the complicated political and economic forces that supported Withers' seeming betrayal of those he witnessed, and suggests that Withers' attention to nuance--so arresting in his photography--also made him essential to the FBI. Bluff City culminates with a riveting account of the 1968 riot that led to Dr. King's death, and investigates how Withers may have altered the course of this momentous event"--


  • Don't touch anything
  • The pictures tell the story
  • Holding on to Jerusalem Slim
  • I am a man.

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