Unfinished: Ernie's Secret

Episode 6: Informants

WES Previously on Ernie's Secret. 


MARK STANSBURY She didn't seem to be afraid at all. And he taught me not to be afraid. You know, go ahead and take my picture. 


DAPHNE I had no clue. I had no expectation that the FBI would be paying the least bit of attention to what folks were doing in West Tennessee. 


ACTOR AS BILL The white workers became openly demonstrative in an amorous fashion with young Negroes on public roads. And in view of the public. Your Majesty. Your Royal Highness. Mr. President. 


ANDREW YOUNG It was 64 that Martin Luther King went to get. We went to get the Nobel Prize. 


MLK JR. I accept the Nobel Prize for peace. At a moment when 22 million Negroes of the United States. 


WES As Andrew Young sat in the audience in Oslo watching his friend Martin Luther King Jr. Accept the Nobel Peace Prize, a box arrived at King's office back in Atlanta. It was filled with audiotapes and a single letter. When they returned home, King's wife, Coretta, opened that letter. 


ANDREW YOUNG So she took the letter off and read it. It was a strange thing. 


WES It was typewritten, single spaced, and filled with typos. It was addressed to King. You are a colossal fraud, the letter accused and an evil, vicious one at that. It said the civil rights leader had had, quote, sexual orgies and adulterous acts. Immoral conduct. It called him an evil, abnormal beast. 


ANDREW YOUNG It was sent to him before the Nobel Prize. It said that shortly after you get this, all of this is going to be made public and you will be ashamed and this, that and the other. 


WES And then in the final paragraph, there was this. There's only one thing left for you to do. You know what it is? There's but one way out for you. 


ANDREW YOUNG I forgot what the letter's title was, but they were trying to get him to commit suicide. 


WES King was certain that the letter had come from the FBI, and he was right. By that point, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover had been on a campaign to discredit the civil rights leader, including placing wiretaps in his home and office. Hoover was ostensibly looking for communist connections, but his agents had amassed a trove of personal information, evidence of extramarital affairs and sexual exploits. Hoover and King had been clashing in public all fall. And just a little over a week before the ceremony in Oslo, President Johnson insisted that the FBI director patch things up with the civil rights leader. On December 1st, 1964, at FBI headquarters, Hoover rose from his desk and shook hands with Dr. King. 


ANDREW YOUNG When we went there, we had a perfectly good meeting. Hoover started talking as soon as we could down, and he started talking until it was time to leave. 


WES Joining King were Ralph Abernathy and Andrew Young, who said that the group never even had the chance to bring up FBI surveillance. Hoover kept insisting to them that Communists had infiltrated their movement. 


ANDREW YOUNG We asked, How can we find out who they were and what kind of evidence there was, and was there any indication of them influencing our policies and practices in a negative way? We never got any satisfactory answers. 


WES One thing was for sure, said Young. The FBI wasn't going to stop watching or listening. 


ANDREW YOUNG We knew the FBI wouldn't come to our rescue. But we used to say, almost jokingly, the only history we got is the history that the FBI has recorded. And they tapped all our phones. I have a line running into my house that I don't know how long it's been there, probably since the early sixties, but I've never moved it. I never taken it down. 


WES Andrew Young and the other civil rights leaders didn't like what Hoover and the FBI were doing, but they decided to take a tact of transparency. The movement had nothing to hide, and the leaders hoped they could demonstrate that to Hoover by sharing details of their activities in advance, where they were marching, the number of protestors and why they were taking these actions. 


ANDREW YOUNG Our position was nonviolence needed to be transparent. We knew the FBI was following us everywhere and we'd see them and we'd speak to them. You know, and we never saw them as an enemy. 


WES They thought that the more they showed the FBI, the easier it would be to prove that their movement wasn't being controlled by foreign communist. That philosophy, that tactic. It also applied to informants, informants like Ernest Withers. Andrew Young just didn't see how anything that Ernest was doing, how any of that could really hurt the movement. 


ANDREW YOUNG I mean, I didn't doubt it. I didn't question that it was true. But I just said, so what? 


WES This is unfinished or any secret. I'm Wesley Lowery. 


WES We know that Ernest Withers was an FBI informant. We know his relationship with the bureau was long from 1958 until 1976. We knew that Ernest was being paid to give them photos, but that he wasn't just selling pictures. He was selling information. We also know that Ernest was just one man in a large government surveillance machine. Some civil rights leaders like Andrew Young decided that their best path forward was to just give the FBI information. And so if they wanted to place informants inside of the movement. So what what harm could be done? But what about information that was taken? The information shared without someone's knowledge. What if it was your picture, your phone number, the details about what you say and where you go, who you meet with, private, personal details taken by someone you trust and give in to people who you don't. Is that different? There were a lot of people talking to the FBI during this era. Who were that and what were their motivations? And what can we say now, decades later, about the impact of all of that information being shared? Over the next two episodes, we're in a drill down into these questions and try to understand where Ernest fits into this big, messy, complicated picture. We'll hear from people who disagree wildly about the things that are in his debt, but how much harm caused about his importance and about how they see his actions all of these years later. But to start to answer any of these questions first, we have to understand the scope of what the FBI was doing during the Cold War. The FBI launched a series of counterintelligence programs called COINTELPRO. What had started in the 1950s as a project meant to disrupt the Communist Party in America evolved into a massive, covert, illegal effort to suppress domestic political dissent. In the 1960s and seventies, the list of targets grew larger and larger not just the civil rights movement, but just about any political group from the American Indian Movement to the women's movement and a long list of individuals, individuals like Martin Luther King. The goal was to gather information that could be used to disrupt, discredit and damage people and institutions that the bureau determined were, quote, threatening. And this is what Ernest Withers got caught up in. At the time, there were some electronic surveillance and some wiretaps, but the FBI relied heavily on human intelligence. One FBI program they called the Ghetto Informant Program used more than 7000 people to infiltrate black communities across the country. The FBI was approaching a lot of people for help. 


REVEREND LAWSON Well, I do remember getting a call from either the FBI or the police chief in the early sixties saying we'd like to come by and talk. 


WES The Reverend James Lawson was a key civil rights organizer based in Memphis and one of the leading proponents of nonviolence. He ended up training hundreds of activists across the South. 


REVEREND LAWSON It was, you know, a kind of an innocent invitation. You were a leader in the community. You're pastor of a church. You have ears and eyes that we don't have. So. Could we occasionally come by just to talk? So I want to put that kind of a picture on some of my friends who did talk to police and other white officials and insist that in many ways they were babes in the wilderness and were not aware. 


WES Schoolteachers, pastors, community leaders. The FBI was constantly checking in with different people, asking questions, gathering intelligence. 


MARC PERRESQUIA And they probably had scores of these kinds of sources all over the place. 


WES This is reporter Marc Perresquiqa.


MARC PERRESQUIA And so these these individuals kind of operated like reference desks where the FBI would show up from time to time and ask them what they knew. And they'd tell them they weren't paid. They weren't given assignments. They were, for various different reasons, cooperating with the FBI. Some of them didn't even recognize that they were being used as informants. If you asked them years later, they would tell you probably honestly in their mind, I was never an informant. 


WES That was the case with Maxine and Vasco Smith. They were leaders in the Memphis office, and both of them were recruited by Bill Lawrence. Mark spoke to MAXINE back in 2009, a few years before she died. And at that time, she was nearly 80 years old. She pointed toward the living room in her spacious home and said that Lawrence used to come by here a whole lot right here. 


MARC PERRESQUIA He'd start talking to me, and he was a very chatty guy, very affable chat and, you know, establish common ground. Bill Lawrence had a big jazz collection, sort of Vasco Smith. They kind of traded records back and forth. It was very friendly, very engaging. 


WES In 1981, MAXINE and Vasco as roles informants was made public. It was the first time that they learned that they had been listed in the FBI records as, quote, extremist informants. They said that they thought they had just been answering questions, sharing gossip. MAXINE told Mark that they regretted cooperating with the FBI. Quote, We thought it was for our own protection. We had nothing to hide. Still, she added, no one has ever offered Vasco and me one penny. Do you think your father would have considered himself an informant? 


ROZ WITHERS I don't think he viewed himself as an informant. I think he viewed himself as them looking for information. 


WES This is Roz Withers, Ernest's daughter. When it comes to her father. She said the FBI was just another customer. His job was to take photos and the bureau was eager to pay him for copies of them. 


ROZ WITHERS Well, they gave him a number because they wrote him a check. When they write him a check for he provided them with his photographs. They were a client. They were a client, as is Jett was a client as Ebony was a client as New York Times was a client. They wrote him a check. But when you really look at things that he stated or they had on record of him stating, it was more to protect or to redirect their interests as opposed to, yeah, ego and this is what you do. And no, that's not what he was doing. 


WES Do you think his background in law enforcement would have made him more likely to have those conversations? 


ROZ WITHERS I think he had relationships because of his role in law enforcement. I mean, like I said, once a law enforcer, always. I mean, that's kind of a code of conduct. So I think that Bill Lawrence relationship that he had with my father was because he knew what Bill's job was and he was trying to protect he knew how to protect African-Americans, not destroy. You know, he knew what to say to get them to look a different direction. 


WES So now today we have the same journalistic conversation of should you do this or would you do this? Do you think he thought of it in those terms at all, that it might be in conflict with the other work he was doing? 


ROZ WITHERS I think I think he probably, if he was alive, have been able to get the whole mystique about an FBI informant. I think he would have cleared it up because he would have positioned what we are dealing with today and the kind of person that we were dealing with back then and putting it in its proper context. You know, we look at the FBI. Who is the FBI? Are they do they kill us or are they here to protect us? Are they the government? What is their duty as a government? So you're saying that I'm not supposed to respond to a government that's approaching me, that I live in this country and I can't communicate with them? Mm hmm. They had the power to wipe him out, to erase him. He was a father of seven boys and one girl. So he really needed to handle that situation, protecting his own life because they had the ability to erase him. 


WES Tell me about the book. 


ROZ WITHERS It's called Pictures Tell the Story. This was the first book that I just fell in love with all my dad's work, and he worked in. 


WES The year 2000. A book called Pictures Tell the story was published. It's a survey of earnest 50 year career, and it includes an essay about his life and his work. The book quotes Ernest talking about the FBI. He even mentions Agent Bill Lawrence. 


ROZ WITHERS He says, I never tried to monitor what they were doing too closely. I was always interested in the outside work. But I tried not to know too much about the inside because I always had FBI agents looking over my shoulders and wanting to question me. Now, that tells you that he didn't view himself as an FBI informant. He view them as always, coming to him for information. But not an informant would be somebody I'm reporting today. Now they're questioning him. So then he says, I never tried to learn any high powered secrets. It would have just been trouble. I was solicited to assist the FBI by Bill Lawrence. In other words, they approached him. Who was the FBI agent here? He was a nice guy. What he was doing was pampering me to catch whatever leaks I dropped. So I stayed out of meetings where real decisions were being made. So there was a deliberate act on his part to be able to not know...


ROZ WITHERS ...that information so that when he's asked because keep in mind, they were a client, they were somebody who purchased if my father went to a let's say Martin had a speech, right. And he went there and took pictures and he says, well, Martin, you guys want to buy any of these pictures? They get what they want. You want to buy this? And then all the other stuff that was left, who do you think bought it? The FBI bought those photos. 


WES So in your opinion, given that he had written specifically about his relationship with the FBI and his relationship with Bill Lawrence to the extent that he worked with them, did you see that as some big secret? 


ROZ WITHERS It was never a topic that my father was affiliated with the FBI. He was affiliated with every form of government. He covered at least seven presidents. I mean, he was I mean, it was just not something that I knew my my mother. It was just never subject. 


WES To the extent to which you've looked at the files and have talked about it and have talked to people. Have you ever seen evidence that your father provided any information that goes beyond what he said he did here? Right. That he was actually providing the crucial information that helped the FBI break up a protest or do a thing here or harass. 


ROZ WITHERS Someone other than them purchasing his photos. And those photos that he was taken, as you mentioned earlier, he was most of the time on assignment as a journalist. So as a journalist, sometimes he saw whole rolls of film to the paper or to the Associated Press in some form so that he would get paid. And if whatever they wanted to buy, they would be also someone who would pay him. 


WES What would the value of been to the FBI in having these photos?


ROZ WITHERS Put in the fine who to now? They probably asked my father. Who is that person? Who is that person? Who's that person? You know, that's a part of what he felt that they were looking for, whatever he would leak with that person do. I don't know what they talk about. I don't know. I wasn't in that room, you know. So he knew what they wanted and he protected himself from being in that position. And he knew how to maneuver himself in such a way that he would capture the history or capture the journalistic aspect of what he was attempting to do for his clients. 


WES Hmm. 


ROZ WITHERS And whatever was there he made available to sell. 


WES Your father in some ways nationally, is better known now than he was when he died. I've been multiple books written about him in conversation now. A lot of that is about the questions of the FBI. 


ROZ WITHERS But yeah, but it's it's it's to discredit him, unfortunately, because that's probably why you're here, is because of that FBI story. Not so much that he's covered a lot of history, but because of the FBI story. And many people do discuss that. But it unfortunately has not accomplished what may have been intended it for it to accomplish, which would be for you to not be interested in history, because if they could prove that he did something wrong, trust me, this came out in 2010 and we're talking now about this 11 years later and it's not been proven. 


WES So you know that nothing has come out that overshadows the work he did and the legacy. We deal with some of the warts on that legacy. After the break. As an informant. Ernest was prolific. Between 1958 and 1976, he contributed more than 1400 photos and written reports to the FBI vault. But what exactly made Ernest different from other informants? 


MARC PERRESQUIA He was paid. He was receiving assignments. He was he was directed. And he had this code number. 


WES This is reporter Mark Perresquia. After breaking the news that Ernest was an FBI informant, Mark spent a few more years digging into the story. He eventually wrote a book called The Spy in Kanan. Let's take on that first issue. Money. How much money did Ernest make as an informant? 


MARC PERRESQUIA 20,000. $88, I think, is what it was, which by inflation today would be about the equivalent, depending upon when he got the money of about 150,000. 


WES Over 15 years. 


MARC PERRESQUIA Yeah. So, I mean, it. 


WES In today's money. 


MARC PERRESQUIA Right. He wasn't getting rich, but he did have a big family to feed him. $8,000 is going to get you a long way 


WES That's not nothing at all. 


MARC PERRESQUIA Yeah, it's nothing to sneeze at. Sure. 


WES Ernest wasn't just selling photos. He was being paid to gather intelligence. In July 1961, Bill Lawrence paid the photographer $15, which would be about $140 today for information on a busload of Freedom Riders who were headed to Memphis. There were scores of informants in Memphis. But getting paid like this was rare. It showed that the FBI thought Ernest had a unique value. 


MARC PERRESQUIA In 1968, there were five paid racial informants here in Memphis who were who were helping them monitor all this racial strife. And Ernest was one of them. I mean, and the other four. There's this one report that talks about the the volume of their work when they had to ship these boxes up to Washington. Their informant files. And Ernest information is the lion's share of the five it takes up like nearly to fall banker boxes. And the other four, their information is contained within the one and a half other banker boxes. So, I mean, he was very prolific. He was extremely important, invaluable to the FBI, you know, far and away their most important racial informant. 


WES We have to remember that at the time the FBI was virtually all white and Ernest, as a well-known black photographer, could go places that the agents never could themselves. Mark says that Ernest became so valuable to the government surveillance efforts that in late 1967, his handlers began protecting his identity and internal reports. They used that code number we talked about earlier. Any three, three eight are. 


MARC PERRESQUIA Ernest Withers could go anywhere he wanted to. He was a news photographer, a former policeman, a studio photographer. There were families all over the city who have their wedding photos and baby photos hanging on their wall that Ernie Withers shot. And he was known, trusted and beloved and was considered not just a newsman, a journalist, but an important player in the movement. His studio was used a lot of times for different movement activities. He was so well trusted. It was the perfect cover. A guy with a camera and those days was very rare with that kind of trust and access and had not one line. He had the whole bowling alley. 


WES The second big difference between Ernest and other informants was that he was taking on assignments, being specifically directed by his FBI handlers. While it's true that the FBI sometimes bought photos that Ernest had shot while working for newspapers and magazines starting in 1961, Bill Lawrence was sending Ernest out on assignments of his own. The FBI wanted pictures of the Northern agitators helping sharecroppers in Fayette County. They wanted photos of the Nation of Islam recruiting on Beale Street. And then another assignment in April 1966, when Ernest was directed to pose as a newsman and photograph a march against the Vietnam War. In his report about that assignment. Bill Lawrence writes that his informant agreed to be alert to take photos of every participant and to get good facial views. Days after the march, Ernest stopped by the FBI's Memphis office and delivered them 80 identification photos of those who had marched. 


MARC PERRESQUIA The FBI and the Memphis Police. They had a police state, and they were trying to identify each and every person who came into these movements under the premise that they were at first, you know, communist inspired, communist controlled. They were subversives, that they were dangerous to this country, that they were upsetting the status quo. And so these were very much like criminal investigations without any probable cause at all. The ground zero of the abuse is in the mere identification of these people, because especially in the black community, the all white FBI in Memphis didn't know who these people were. They needed somebody to identify these people so that they could start building files on them, which is what they did. That's where Ernest came in. Every dossier starts with a with an identification photo, and that's what he was doing. And then and then building from that, you know, the basic bio, you know who they are, where they lived. But their home addresses were phone numbers. License plate tags. They would just decide that you're dangerous. And we're going to we're going to check out and find out who who you're involved with and who your contacts are. 


WES So do you think Ernest would have known the full extent to the way of the way his information was being used? 


MARC PERRESQUIA Probably not. But he probably would have known a lot because Ernest was a very astute individual. He was a World War Two veteran. He was a newsman during the McCarthy era and would have seen, you know, all that was going on. Then he knew how law enforcement worked because he was a police officer. So he knew what the cops, the kind of information the cops wanted, and he knew how they could trip you up on, you know, by the kinds of information that they collected. So, I mean, obviously, they weren't telling him everything and he wouldn't have known in each situation exactly why they knew that wanted it. But he knew generally that this is a law enforcement agency. This isn't a fraternity with a scrapbook that this information is going to do is going into a law enforcement agency that's also working very closely with local police and that this is information that could be used to harm people. 


WES You've spent probably as much time as any living person in the details of the files that that recount. What Ernest said, I imagine that is a safe conclusion. Could be knowing what you know about the accounts that are recorded of what Withers provided to the FBI. You don't buy the explanation that, look, I was just given stuff that was already public. Everyone kind of already knew this. This was valuable information that the police might not have otherwise had. 


MARC PERRESQUIA That's true. I mean, sometimes sometimes he just made it easier to get a lot of them. It's just his access. So a lot of these reports, you look at them and you go, huh, well, you know, big deal. I mean, they know where he lives. You know, they know that where he works. But it took a lot of work to put that together. And you got to ask the larger question, why do they even want this? What law enforcement purpose does this information serve? The only the only purpose that it serves is that they want to contain these individuals, and they might use this information when the time comes, but they want it at hand if and when the time comes. 


WES We'll never know why Ernest said yes to working with the FBI. What drove that decision or why he did it for so long? As far as we can tell, Ernest never talked about this before he died. But what we do know is that other people were given similar offers and that they made a different choice. Would would you have ever considered being an informant for the feds during this time? 


COBY SMITH No. Why not? Because I love the moon. 


WES Coby Smith is sitting in an armchair surrounded by boxes and papers. We're in his garage, which has been converted into an office. It's a hot day in August and the fan is cranked up to high. Kobe helped start the Invaders, a black militant group in Memphis that was founded in 1967. The invaders argued for self-determination. They were berets and military jackets. They talked about using guns and Molotov cocktails to disrupt the status quo. As you can probably imagine, the FBI hated the invaders. And before long, with the help of the Memphis Police Department, the FBI had infiltrated the group with informants. Colby tells me about a day in April 1968 when he was called to police headquarters and made an offer. 


COBY SMITH Listen, I. Kobe, we ain't got nothing on you. You are a good guy. But these guys out here with you are criminals. So they wanted me to turn on them. They gave me the off. But I. What was I going to tell them? 


WES What was the offer? What did they. What do they want you to do? What they're going. To give to you? 


COBY SMITH You're not. You're not bad like them. Come on. Work with us. When they. When they asked. 


WES You. You didn't seriously consider it, did you? 


COBY SMITH No, I didn't consider that an offer I could take. How could I turn on my own organization? People that I had talked into, coming into the movement, trying to help the people. I'm going to be the one to turn them in. No, no, no. I couldn't do that. 


WES For Kobe, this was a question of loyalty. He wasn't going to betray the movement. But the FBI kept knocking on doors, kept trying to find informants, people with access to places that their agents couldn't go. Activists like Colby were tempting targets, but so were journalists. 


EARL CALDWELL When I went to the New York Times in that summer of 67, they had more riots, more outbreaks than any in the history of the country. 


WES During the summer of 1967, massive social unrest erupted in cities across the country. Earl Caldwell was one of a number of black journalists who were hired by mainstream news outlets to cover race. 


EARL CALDWELL Because the black reporters were bringing back a story that was different from the story the newspapers had been publishing. And you're saying that the black. 


WES Reporters were less deferential to the police, that the black reporters were writing down what happened when previously, when it was just white reporters and editors, the police could get more favorable coverage. 


EARL CALDWELL Yes. But a lot of those white reporters, they didn't know. They didn't know. They didn't know what? That there was two different kinds of. Action by the police. 


WES You follow me because the white reporters would have been treated differently? 


EARL CALDWELL Yes, they were treated differently. This is what I said. They have police lines that white reporters can go in. Black reporters can do that. 


WES And so and so because the black reporters are being treated just like. Normal black people. The stories they're walking back to the newsroom. With look different. 


EARL CALDWELL That's exactly right. 


WES So to neutralize or marginalize these black reporters, Earle says the FBI tried to recruit them as informants. 


EARL CALDWELL I would say the FBI, they wanted to find a way to bring the black reporters into line. And what they did, they began to say to black reporters, we want you to work with us. We want you to be undercover agents for us. We want you to be spies because you're out there. You see all this thing, you know who's saying why? You know what's going on. So you work with us. And they would approach. 


WES Black reporters often with offers like. This or requests like. This. 


EARL CALDWELL It wasn't a request. They were saying, You must do this. 


WES As a national correspondent for The New York Times, Earl started covering the Black Panther Party in the late sixties. He got deep inside the movement, and that's when the FBI got in touch. 


EARL CALDWELL I had the FBI say to me when I was covering the Black Panthers, if you don't do this, if you don't work with us. And they did. And they were very detailed. You will call us on a phone, will tell you where the numbers, your call every so often would tell you what everything. But they said, if you don't do this, we're going to get a subpoena. 


WES The FBI called him so many times that Earle stopped answering his phone eventually. In early February 1970. Earl was served with a subpoena to testify before a federal grand jury. They wanted his notebooks and his tape recordings. Earl refused. Less than three weeks later, he and a group of black journalists went public. 


EARL CALDWELL I want to show you something, Peter. Could you give me this? This. This is black reporters. Can you see this? 


WES Earl holds up an old newspaper page. 


EARL CALDWELL Can you see it? 


WES It's from the Amsterdam News, a black paper in New York from Saturday, February 21st, 1970. On the page is an open letter to the paper's readers. 


WES Can you read what it says to me? 


EARL CALDWELL Message to the black community from black journalists. We will not be used as spies, informants or undercover agents by anybody. We will protect our confidential sources using every means at our disposal. We strongly objected to attempts by law enforcement agencies to exploit our blackness. 


WES The letter was signed by over 60 black journalists from across the country. To protect his sources. Earl burned some of his notes. Rather than risk having to turn them over to the FBI. His case would ultimately help create the rationale for state enacted shield laws which protect reporters notes from government seizure decades later. Earl tells me that he never would have considered turning over information on his sources to the FBI. It's a stark contrast to Ernest. As we've reported out this podcast, I've tried really hard to be fair to Ernest to understand why he may have made the decisions that he did and how different his time was than mine. But I have to say, as a reporter myself, someone with sources inside law enforcement and activist circles, I can't imagine being willing, no matter how sweet the paycheck, to betray people the way that EARNEST did. Our job as journalists is to be skeptical of those in power, to ask questions on behalf of those without it. By teaming up with law enforcement, by spying on these civil rights activists. EARNEST was doing the exact opposite. Next time on unfinished any secret. Ernest was an important part of the FBI's vast surveillance effort. But how much damage did he actually do? Did any of the information he provided actually hurt the movement? This was not. 


ROZ WITHERS A victimless crime. I mean, he did his job. He just ripped me apart with information about me and my life. 


DAPHNE He did no harm because the intention of those people who wanted these photographs and this information was to kill me. No ifs, ands or buts about it. 


WES This season of Unfinished is a co-production of Stitcher and Scripps. Our senior producer is Roy Hurst. The editor is Tracey Samuelson. Our show was written by Ellen Weiss. Executive producers are Camille Stanley and Ellen Weiss. Our music is composed by Edward Tex. Miller. Mixing is by Casey Holford. Special thanks to reporter and author Marc Pear Esquire for sharing documents, sources and his years of work on this story. Mark is the author of the book A Spy in Kanan How the FBI Used a Famous Photographer to Infiltrate the Civil Rights Movement. Thanks also to the WGBH archives, we had production help from McKenna Smith and Suzanne Rebar. Reber fact checking was by Kelvin Bias Stitchers, vice president of content is Peter Clowney. If you like the show and believe in this kind of storytelling, please give us a five star review on Apple Podcasts. It'll help more people discover unfinished. I'm Wesley Lowery. Thanks for listening.