While Ernest Withers and his Seven Sons did Most of the Physical Work, Withers's Wife Dorothy Mae Withers Was the Boss Behind Ernest C. Withers Photographers and the reason the Business is so Successful. Meet His Wife and His Seven Sons.

Dorothy Mae Curry Withers (1923-2008)

Dorothy Mae Curry Withers was the inspiration behind the Women of Stamina Awards, an honor for women over 80 who've survived hardships in life. Part of her work included helping her famous husband, Ernest C. Withers, in his photography studio on Beale Street in Memphis. They were married 65 years and had seven sons and a daughter. She was survived by sons, Andrew Jerome Withers of Memphis, Joshua Billy Withers of California and Perry Withers of Memphis, and daughter, Rosalind Withers of Florida. She was preceeded by four sons, Dedrick "Teddy" Withers, Wendall Withers, Ernest Withers Jr. and Dyral Withers.

DOROTHY CURRY WITHERS, age 84, of Memphis, TN, died Thursday, August 28, 2008 at Methodist South Hospital. R. S. Lewis & Sons Funeral Home, 374 Vance Ave., Memphis, is in charge of arrangements where the family will receive friends on Friday, September 5, 3-8 p.m. Funeral Services will be at Gospel Temple Baptist Church at 12 noon Saturday, September 6. Interment will be at Elmwood Cemetery in Memphis. Mrs. Curry was the daughter of the late Clarence Curry and the late Mary (Wilkes) Curry. She is survived by one daughter, Ms. Rosalind Withers of West Palm Beach, FL; three sons, Mr. Perry O'Neal Withers of Memphis, TN; Mr. Joshua "Billy" Withers of Memphis, TN; Mr. Andrew Jerome Withers (Cheri) of Memphis, TN; 14 grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren. R. S. Lewis & Son Funeral Home (Published in The Commercial Appeal 8/31/2008)


The Boss of Photographer Ernest C. Withers ~ Dorothy Mae Withers Paperback – This photographic book shares never before seen photos and how a father instills in his son, his chosen career...Ernest C. Withers known to many as the Civil Rights photographer of the 1960's placed a camera in the hands on his young son Andrew "Rome" Withers who has now extended this pictorial booklet that makes known that mother --whom he refers to as Madear was the Boss of the Photographer Ernest C. Withers. Welcome to the wonderful life of Dorothy Mae Withers----The Boss

All Seven Sons of Ernest and Dorothy Withers worked as photographers at "Ernest C. Withers Photographers". Ernest, Jr., Perry O., Clarence (Joshua) E., Wendell J., Dedrick (Teddy) J., Dyral L., and Andrew (Rome)

Ernest Columbus Withers Jr.


2 Feb 1943


10 Mar 1996 (aged 53)


Ernest C. Withers Jr. lived in the heart of political activity in Washington for 30 years, rising to be the assistant to Democratic National Committee director and serving on the transition team to President Jimmy Carter. After his health started to fail, Mr. Withers, 53, of 480 Brooks, returned to his hometown of Memphis in 1992. Recently, he taught political science and social studies at Shelby State Community College. He was the son of noted Memphis photographer Ernest C. Withers. He died Sunday of heart disease at Memphis Veterans Medical Center. Anytime conversations turned to his brother's two loves, politics and pan-African history, his brother, Perry Withers , said, "It's like you tapped an unending vein. He ate, slept, breathed and smoked Africa and black Americana." In the late 1960s he was among those featured in the book Manassas School: Portrait of a Ghetto School by author Addie Jones. The book reflected on the accomplishments of inner-city school students. He was a communicant of St. Augustine Catholic Church. The funeral will be at noon Saturday at his family's church, Gospel Temple Baptist Church. R.S. Lewis & Sons Funeral Home has charge. He leaves his parents, Ernest C. and Dorothy Withers, both of Memphis; a sister, Rosalind Sawyer of Miami, and four other brothers, Dyral Withers and Andrew Jerome Withers, both of Memphis, Clarence Earl Withers of Los Angeles and Dedrick 'Teddy' Withers of Pembrooke Pines, Fla.

Perry O'Neal Withers


28 Oct 1944


4 Sep 2010 (aged 65)

Perry O'Neal Withers, October 28, 1944, recently died of a heart attack in his home. Owner of the Business Economic Management Corporation, Inc., specializing in securing loans for multiple types of businesses, he was an accomplished economist, investment specialist, proposal writer and published photographer, having taking some of the key photos of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. A former college/university educator, he received the Bachelor of Science Degree from Howard University in 1966. A brilliant thinker, he later received his Master's Degree from the University of Memphis and became the 1st Black president of the Memphis Honor's Society for Economists. He was also a member of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. Perry was the 2nd child born to the late Dorothy and Ernest Wither Sr.; he was preceded in death by four brothers, Ernest Jr., Wendell "Winnie", Dedrick "Teddy", and Daryl Withers. A devoted father and family-man, father of one son and one daughter, Arthur Withers and Cameron Kelscy S. Withers, grandfather of two, Jazmin Nicole Withers and Niya Renee Tucker Withers. He was a devout Christian. Known to be an extremely trustworthy man of character and compassion, he leaves to morn his death one sister, Rosalyn Withers-Guzman, two brothers, Joshua "Billy" Withers and Andrew Jerome Withers, one half sister, Frances Williams, friend and former wife, Clenora Hudson-Weems, dear friend, Alberta Wilks, a host of nieces, nephews, and many devoted friends and colleagues. Services will be held on Friday, September 17, at 11 a.m. at Gospel Temple Baptist Church, 1080 Manassas, Memphis, TN 38107. Interment at 2 p.m. will take place at West Tennessee Veteran Cemetery, 4000 Forest Hill/Irene Road, Memphis, TN 38125. R. S. Lewis & Sons Funeral (Published in The Commercial Appeal on September 16, 2010)

Joshua Billy Withers


Joshua "Billy" Withers, 69, died June 1, 2016. Photographer/Entrepreneur, and graduate of Mitchell High School class of '64. Visitation, Friday, 4 p.m.-6:30 p.m. in our chapel and Saturday 10 a.m. until time of funeral 11 a.m. Progressive Missionary Baptist Church, 394 Vance Ave. Interment, New Park Cemetery. Son of the late Ernest and Dorothy Withers; Father of Aisha Withers Mitchell (Darren) and Jamaal Withers; Brother of Rome Withers, Frances Williams, Rosalind Withers, four grandchildren, and a host of other relatives and friends.

Wendell J. Withers.




18 Aug 1974 (aged 23–24)

Wendell J. Withers, 24, of 480 West Brooks Road, a former student at LeMoyne-Owen College, died at 6:30 a.m. yesterday at Oakville Memorial Hospital. He had been in a coma for almost two years as a result of injuries received in a traffic accident in Huntington Beach, Calif. He was a member of Gospel Temple Baptist Church and the brother of Dedrick 'Teddy' Withers, who won the Democratic nomination Aug. 1 for the state house seat in District 85. R.S. Lewis & Sons Funeral Home has charge. He also leaves his wife Mrs. Toni Withers, and a daughter, Pantha Nawanda Withers, both of Annapolis, Md.; his parents Mr. and Mrs. Ernest C. Withers of Memphis; five others brothers, Ernest C. Withers Jr. of Washington, D.C., Clarence Earle Withers of Los Angeles, and Perry O. Withers, Dyral L. Withers and Andrew Jerome Withers, all of Memphis; a sister, Miss Rosalind Du-Val Withers of Memphis, and his grandparents, Clarence Curry and Mrs. Mary curry, both of Memphis.

Wendell J. Withers.

Dedrick James “Teddy” Withers


5 Feb 1952


17 May 1996 (aged 44)

Former state representative Dedrick James 'Teddy' Withers, who played a key role in the 1991 African-American People's Convention that led to the election of Mayor W. W. Herenton, died of AIDS Friday in Pembroke Pines, Fla. He was 44. Withers had been a familiar name in Memphis politics since his election to the state House at age 22 in 1974. After losing a bid for re-election in 1984, he made several bids for elected office and remained active as a political strategist. Withers's father, noted photographer Ernest C. Withers, said his son contracted the AIDS virus from a blood transfusion in a Chicago hospital in 1985. U.S. Rep. Harold Ford of Memphis said Withers 's ability to coordinate the various political factions involved in the People's Convention was typical of his political acumen. He called Withers 'one of the greatest' at navigating difficult political terrain. "Teddy Withers came on the political scene like nobody else," Ford said. "He reminded me of myself when he defeated Tommy Powell, who was a powerful figure in the legislature." Withers was re-elected four times before his trips to Africa to form trade partnerships became a political liability. Those trips took Withers away from the legislature for part of the 1983-84 session, and became the key issue in his defeat in District 85 by Larry Turner. Withers tried for a comeback in 1986 against Turner. He then ran for city mayor in 1987, and for the state Senate against incumbent Ed Davis in 1990. Behind the scenes, Withers was a political strategist for candidates. In his effort to advance trade between Africa and Tennessee, he founded World Trade Center Memphis, an international trade group, in early 1993. He was ousted from the presidency six months later because of frequent absences from the center's office, often on overseas trips. Over the years, Withers was involved with the NAACP, Operation PUSH and the National Business League. Ford and others said politics was Withers's forte. Political activist Del Gill, who worked with Withers on the People's Convention, described him as a "political Joshua, a guy who could rally the troops." Withers was co-chairman and convener for the People's Convention, where about 2,000 black residents gathered and selected Herenton the consensus candidate for mayor. People's Convention organizers will hold a memorial service for Withers at 6:30 p.m. May 24 at Progressive Missionary Baptist Church. The funeral will be at noon May 25 at Gospel Temple Baptist Church. R.S. Lewis & Sons Funeral Home has charge. He is survived by his parents, Ernest C. and Dorothy Withers , both of Memphis; a sister, Rosalind Sawyer of Pembroke Pines, and four brothers, Perry, Dyral and Andrew Jerome Withers, all of Memphis, and Clarence Earl Withers of Los Angeles, and fiancee Shiree Jenkins of Green Acres, Fla.

Dyral L. Withers

1/29/1954 - 1/1/2002

Dyral L. Withers, a Memphis photographer, died on New Year's Day at Methodist Healthcare-Central of heart failure. He was 47. Photography was a natural choice for Mr. Withers , who had been ill with cancer. His father is Ernest C. Withers, a legendary local photographer. Like his brothers, including former state representative Dedrick James 'Teddy' Withers, who died in 1996, Mr. Withers was active in politics. He served three terms as a member of the state Democratic Party's executive committee. State Rep. Joe Towns Jr. said Mr. Withers, working with his brother Teddy and other members of the Withers family, helped bring about a number of progressive steps in Memphis. They range from taking part in the 1991 African-American People's Convention that helped first elect Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton, to coordinating economic development-oriented visits to Memphis by top officials from the African nations of Sierra Leone and The Gambia. "His impact has been profound in our community," Towns said. "He was always giving and always trying to improve the city in which he lived." Fred Dorse, a Memphis businessman and close friend of the family, noted that Mr. Withers was the fourth of seven brothers to die. Ernest C. Withers Jr. died in 1996 and Wendall Withers in 1974. Dorse said the Withers family members have been visionaries, and he was struck by the strength of their mother Dorothy Withers, as the family grieved on Tuesday. "Here's a mother now that's given up four boys to this community," he said. "Every one of them made a contribution." Mr. Withers was a graduate of Mitchell Road High School. Winning a football scholarship, he attended Mississippi Valley State and later LeMoyne-Owen College. In addition to his craft as a photographer, he was co-founder of a community newspaper and a magazine, and at one time worked for FedEx. He was a member of the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses. Mr. Withers, the husband of Toni Killebrew Withers, also leaves two daughters, Takiyah I. Jones of Dallas and Nataki Withers Norton of Memphis; a son, Hasani Salim Withers, and his parents, Dorothy and Ernest Withers, all of Memphis; a sister, Rosalind Withers Sawyer of Pembroke Pines, Fla.; three brothers, Perry Withers and Andrew Withers, both of Memphis, and Joshua 'Billy' Withers of Los Angeles, and two grandchildren. R.S. Lewis & Sons Funeral Home has charge.

Andrew (Rome) Withers is a photographer, historian, and a film maker. He is a graduate of LeMoyne Owen College in Memphis, Tennessee. He has been employed as a teacher, certified financial consultant, and has spent time as a Human Rights Activist.

In 1964 he picked up his first camera and accompanied his father Ernest C. Withers Sr. In 1966, because of his father, Andrew had the opportunity to walk and march with the late Dr. Martin L. King "March Against Fear" march. In 1968, the "I Am A Man" march was the last march of Dr. King.

Andrew Rome Withers is the Deputy Chief of the Okanashoba Chickasha (Chickasaw) clan. His indigenous name is Tchulaokatatuklo meaning two fox.

He attended the United Nations in 2015 with the NAAIP, Pokanoket. Narragansett, and other delegations representing his cilture heritage. Andrew is now the President of the ECWHPF and has established the Withers home as a historical landmark (Ernest C. Withers Historical Home).