In A Spy in Canaan: How the FBI Used a Famous Photographer to Infiltrate the Civil Rights Movement, journalist Marc Perrusquia tells the story of the double life of famed civil rights photographer Ernest Withers—and how a closely guarded government secret finally came to light.
Ernest Withers captured some of the most iconic moments of the civil rights movement—from the rare photo of Martin Luther King Jr. in repose to the haunting photo of Emmet Till’s great-uncle pointing an accusing finger at Till’s killers. He was trusted and beloved by King’s inner circle, and had a front row seat to history. But what most people don’t know is that Withers was an informant for the FBI—and his photos helped the bureau identify and surveil the era’s greatest figures. This book explores the life, complex motivations, and legacy of this fascinating figure.
Marc Perrusquia is a journalist for The Commercial Appeal, the daily newspaper in Memphis, Tennessee, where he has worked the past twenty-nine years. He has won numerous national awards for both feature writing and investigative reporting.
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