Withers Work Will Never Wither

Withers Work Will Never Wither
By Jeanine Jones

They say a picture is worth 1000 words 
His are worth more than 1 million 
before the era of cell phones and selfies, his pictures were posted worldwide and made world history

Off guard shots
No selfies
No time to say cheese

Documenting a movement, a million moments in time
of just and unjust acts
from Mamie Till’s boy Emmett
to Coretta Scott’s King
Pictures was his thing
Pictures, priceless pictures
worth more than a million writers words and a rich man’s dollars
Prolific pictures
Placing Stax music, Memphis and Civil rights on a global map

The work of Withers will never wilt nor wither, weathering times test
Everlasting impressions on the hearts and minds of an unrest nation
Seen in magazines, newspapers, documentaries, and tv media stations
The work of a photo legend
Never compromised
As some accused him of snapping, snitching and sneaking 
Possibly, all COINTELPRO lies
Possibly, snapping, snitching and sneaking/Un-silencing the south’s secrets through vivid images that impressed national coverage and media outlets
Looks like Withers won the bet

His photographs changed the world
They held open-sore, flesh wounded realities
of the world and the beauty of a people
who just wanted rights, Civil Rights
Capturing rare shots of everyday life from police brutality to monumental movements
History stands and stood, still, with every shot and snap he clicked and clacked

While capturing a movement moving history forward
Photojournalist, Ernest Withers, the artist who needed no brush 
the movement was his canvas, his eye, an optical lens
One of Memphis’ first Black policemen took a stand
His nephew Andrew continues to snap
Following the trail of the legacy of Withers
Who’s been long gone but his work lives on
The work of Withers will never wilt nor wither

Jeanine Jones is a small P.E.A. (Poet, Educator, Author) in a big pot, packing a lot of flavor.  She loves the arts and uses poetry as her gel to make literacy stick. She has written five books and plays, including We Can All Decorate the Same Tree.

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