Thousands gather to honor Civil Rights icon - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Blair Simmons

Thousands gather to honor Civil Rights icon

Folks from around the world are coming to see Civil Rights Photographer and local icon, Ernest Withers.

There have been two visitations for the international legend, one downtown at the funeral home, and another at the Gospel Temple Baptist church.  Hundreds of people have come to pay their last respects.

"We're here to celebrate the homegoing of my father, world renowned photographer Ernest C. Withers.

Ernest Withers was a photographer, an activist, a father to eight children. "He was my father and he set the example of what a man should be and I've tried to live up to it," says Perry Withers.

He was also a husband, a mentor and an inspiration to many. "He just means life to me because I did not have a father and Mr. Withers was the father I never knew of," says Mark Stansbury.

Withers was the reason Stansbury man carries a camera everywhere he goes today, the reason he finished college. And Withers is largely to credit for opening doors for him and for many others.

"I try to follow in his footsteps," adds Stansbury.

To those he left behind, he left some pretty big shoes to fill.

Perry Withers adds, "He was a good father and its really getting to me today of all days like never before. I realize now he's gone and there's kind of a void, a mark missing that I shot at, you know."

Withers left a tangible legacy for all who knew him. "I'll remember him in my children and my grandchildren. I'll remember him in the skills I picked up from him and being around him," adds Withers.

Withers left thousands of pictures for us to remember. His funeral will be Saturday at 12:00 p.m. at the J.O. Patterson, Jr., Pentecostal Temple.

Click here to email Blair Simmons.

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