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Documents on FBI Informant’s Reporting on Martin Luther King Released

The National Archives and Records Administration has released 785 pages of documents related to Ernest Withers, a photographer and free lance newsman acting as an FBI informant on activities of Dr. Martin Luther King as part of a legal settlement between the FBI and The Commercial Appeal, which filed a lawsuit seeking the information.
The CA has a report on what’s said in the documents in Sunday’s newspaper that begins as follows:
James Bevel flashed a wide smile, looking more like a guest at a cocktail party than a suspected subversive whose picture was about to land in an FBI file.
As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s head of “direct action,” Bevel was in Memphis on this March 1968 afternoon to help organize a massive demonstration King planned. And when news photographer Ernest Withers began shooting pictures, as he routinely did at civil rights meetings throughout the South, Bevel grinned without a hint of concern.
Yet, unknown to Bevel and others at this gathering at LeMoyne-Owen College, Withers, a paid FBI informant, passed photos he snapped that day to an FBI agent, along with details he overheard. His report fueled deepening skepticism within an already hostile FBI as to whether King intended to keep his movement nonviolent.
“He (Bevel) gave a most virulent black power talk,” agent William H. Lawrence wrote after debriefing Withers. Reportedly saying whites will use economic pressure to “attempt to exterminate the Negroes in the United States in some form of genocide,” Bevel encouraged the group to read the black separatist newspaper, Muhammad Speaks, and “come into the black power movement.”

Wanna Shred Some Documents?

News release from Department of Commerce and Insurance:
NASHVILLE, TN – The Department of Commerce and Insurance (TDCI) Consumer Affairs division and the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office have joined forces to promote identity theft awareness. The two agencies will host a free shredding event from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1, at LP Field’s Lot D. (Note: That’s in Nashville.)
“This annual event enables consumers to safely shred and dispose of their outdated, private records,” TDCI Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak said. “The participation of departments such as Safety and Homeland Security to support our agencies speaks to the impact of identity theft.”
Consumer Affairs and the Attorney General’s Office will have personnel available to hand out information on identity theft prevention and to answer consumers’ questions. In addition, members of the Tennessee Highway Patrol and the Department of Safety and Homeland Security’s Criminal Investigations Division will be at the event to distribute information on other preventive measures. There will be a two-box maximum per vehicle, five-box maximum for businesses. Newspaper and cardboard will not be accepted.
“Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in Tennessee,” said Consumer Affairs Director Gary Cordell. “Identity thieves have been known to rifle through trash cans and large garbage bins in search of private documents, bills or other papers containing consumers’ personal information. Our goal is to encourage consumers to shred old documents that contain personal information before discarding them, in an effort to deter identity thieves.”

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