Ernest Withers, photographer of Black life, dies at 85

October 16, 2007

The Memphis Commercial Appeal brings the sad news that photographer Ernest Withers has died at age 85. Quoted in the article, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art director Kaywin Feldman said, “Ernest Withers is internationally recognized as one of the most important American photographers of the 20th century. Not only did Withers capture iconic images of the civil rights movement, but he also produced important photographs of the Negro Baseball League, Memphis musicians and daily life for African-Americans in Memphis. We are proud to have almost 200 of Withers’ photographs in our permanent collection.”

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Photo of Elvis and BB King  © Ernest C. Withers courtesy of Panopticon Gallery, Boston.

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Tennessean Todd Helton Triumphant

October 16, 2007

Growing up in East Tennessee in the 1950s and ’60s, I never felt much of a lure from professional baseball. The Braves weren’t in Atlanta yet, and Cincinnati seemed like a long way off. My friends pulled for the New York Yankees, so I did, too, but with no real enthusiasm. When I moved to the Boston area, I gave my heart to the Red Sox, whose Fenway Park seemed to exemplify real baseball, not these pleasure palace ballparks with all the box seats.

We moved to Boulder, Colorado in 1992, and the very next spring entered a lottery and won tickets the the very first Colorado Rockies home game. It was held in Mile High Stadium, home of the Denver Broncos, and 80,000 people were on hand–a record setting number of people to see a major league game. The very first Rockies batter to bat at home hit a home run. It was a wonderful day.

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