By Witness Docs

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Subscribers: 772
Reviews: 4

 Jan 17, 2021
I have always been fascinated by this topic. I've read Under the Banner of Heaven, Stolen Innocence, and listened to Last Podcast on the Left deep dive into Mormonism. But I've never come to a satisfying understanding as to why people stayed. Your podcast has gotten me there. You didn't sugar coat the darker side of FLDS but you presented a compassionate vision of a belief system that got hi-jacked by some very bad people. Well done. Now do the Amish.

 Sep 24, 2020
compelling, engaging, and very well researched. a great listen!

Darnarius McQ
 Jul 31, 2020

 Jul 16, 2020
incredibly thoughtful and well done podcast looking at history to research an infamous lynching, and its impact. really excited to have found it.


Witness Docs presents Unfinished, an investigative anthology series digging into America's unfinished business. Season 1, Deep South, produced in collaboration with Market Road Films, brought us on a journey into the Arkansas Delta to investigate the lynching of Isadore Banks. Season 2, produced with Critical Frequency, takes us to Short Creek, a community on the Utah/Arizona border divided by much more than a state line. Season 3, produced with Scripps, explores dual loyalties and hidden histories via the story of Ernest Withers, one of the most important photographers of the 20th century -- who was both a Civil Rights Movement photographer and a FBI informant. Hear more great stories about complicated people from Witness Docs at witnesspodcasts.com

Episode Date
Ernie's Secret | E10 Exposed

The FBI’s abusive domestic surveillance is exposed and after years of keeping his identity as an informant secret, Bill Lawrence and Ernest must testify under oath about their relationship. How far will they go to protect each other and preserve Ernest’s legacy as a hero of the civil rights movement?

Aug 24, 2022
Ernie's Secret | E9 The Assassination

Dr. King returns to Memphis on April 3 to make good on his promise to lead a non-violent march. But first he has to get the militants on board. Ernest is relaying dozens of tips from inside every meeting and negotiation. Eye-witnesses share details of King’s final hours, and Ernest is instrumental in getting the most iconic and intimate images out to the world.

Aug 17, 2022
Ernie's Secret | E8 The Invaders

We begin the story of Martin Luther King Jr.’s last eight days alive. A sanitation workers' strike brings King to Memphis - but by this time, March 1968, the movement is splintered. A homegrown Black Power group called the Invaders wants more active resistance, a non-violent protest turns into a riot and Ernest, now a paid racial informant, provides the FBI with a front row seat to an unfolding disaster.

Aug 10, 2022
Ernie's Secret | E7 Harm / No Harm?

Ernest was an informant, but just how much damage did he actually cause? To what extent do the sins of the government fall on one man’s shoulders? Two people look over their FBI records and what Ernest revealed about them and arrive at very different conclusions.

Aug 03, 2022
Ernie's Secret | E6 Informants

The FBI launches a massive, illegal intelligence dragnet to gather information that could be used to disrupt, discredit and damage people and groups it deems a threat. A lot of people get caught up in providing information to the law enforcement, including Ernest. So what made him different?

Jul 27, 2022
Ernie's Secret | E5 On The Front Lines

Being on the front lines was dangerous - especially for a Black man with a camera. But Ernest puts himself at the center of the action. It’s easy to make friends with the Northern “agitators” pouring into West Tennessee and feed the FBI’s growing demand for their pictures.

Jul 20, 2022
Ernie's Secret | E4 Fayette County

Ernest’s relationship with the FBI blossoms in 1961 in Fayette County, Tennessee where Black sharecroppers are kicked off their land just for trying to vote. FBI Special Agent Bill Lawrence and Ernest show up to help, but end up seeing something more sinister in the works.

Jul 13, 2022
Ernie's Secret | E3 Two Daughters

How did Ernest operate and why did he do it? Two daughters bring us as close as we can get to the minds of the men at the center of our story, Ernest and his handler FBI Special Agent Bill Lawrence.

Jul 06, 2022
Ernie's Secret | E2 License To Lie

The FBI has a license to lie and it takes a landmark lawsuit to force them to hand over a trove of secret records detailing Ernest’s years as an FBI informant.

Jun 29, 2022
Ernie's Secret | E1 The Perfect Cover

Ernest Withers shot timeless photos covering the civil rights movement- Dr. King on that integrated bus in Montgomery, Alabama, Emmett Till’s uncle pointing an accusing finger and striking garbage men in Memphis wearing I AM A MAN placards. His loyalty and dedication earned him the trust of movement leaders King, Young, Lawson. But what if that trust was misplaced - what if Ernest was leading a double life?

Jun 29, 2022
Introducing: Ernie's Secret

The story of Ernest C. Withers, an African-American journalist dubbed the "original civil rights photographer" --  who also happened to be an FBI informant. In this third season of Unfinished, co-produced with The E.W. Scripps Company, host and journalist Wesley Lowery (CBS News, Washington Post) brings listeners through a story of dual loyalties, hidden histories and one man caught in the middle. Lowery also provides new perspectives and insights on government overreach, and explores whether Withers was coerced and simply caught up in FBI surveillance during the Civil Rights Movement. New episodes start June 29

Jun 15, 2022
Introducing Toxic: The Britney Spears Story

Comedians Tess Barker and Babs Gray, who you might know from Lady to Lady or the now legendary Britney’s Gram podcast, are here to bring you a brand new investigative series about Britney Spears' conservatorship and the court system that's allowed it to persist.

After launching the #FreeBritney movement, they started to dig… And what they found out, you won’t want to miss!

Join Tess and Babs as they talk to exclusive sources, examine new sides of the story, and uncover disturbing truths about our legal system that go way beyond Britney.

Listen to Episodes 1 & 2 right now: link.chtbl.com/ToxicThePodcast

Jul 07, 2021
Short Creek | Bonus AMA with Hosts Ash and Sarah

Hosts Ash Sanders and Sarah Ventre sit down with senior producer Abigail Keel to respond to listeners' questions & comments about Unfinished: Short Creek. This is a special premium bonus episode that has been unlocked for everyone to hear! Three more bonus episodes will be released over the next three weeks. To hear those, go to stitcher.com/premium and sign up with the code WITNESS for a free month of listening. You’ll get access to bonus episodes, plus every episode of Unfinished: Short Creek and other Witness Docs ad-free.

Nov 30, 2020
Short Creek | E10 Hallelujah

In the season finale, a few final scenes from Short Creek. After all that's happened here, we look at what healing might look like for the people of Short Creek.

Nov 09, 2020
Short Creek | E9 Grassroots in the Desert

Ex-believers see an opportunity for democracy and work to bring the first free and fair election to Short Creek.

Oct 30, 2020
Short Creek | E8 Can I Get A Witness?

As divisions deepen in Short Creek, the Department of Justice puts the two towns on trial for religious discrimination... forcing the community to change, one way or another.

Oct 26, 2020
Short Creek | E7 This Land is Our Land

Ex-believers return to Short Creek and face discrimination from FLDS who still control the towns. In an attempt to reclaim the community, ex-believers face off with former family members over land, and power.

Oct 19, 2020
Short Creek | E6 This One's for You, Gramsy

Warren Jeffs continues to control Short Creek from prison. As families are torn apart and the faithful are divided according to their "righteousness," some of his most ardent believers hit their breaking point. But can they stay away from Short Creek for long?

Oct 12, 2020
Short Creek | E5 Answer Them Nothing

Elissa Wall takes prophet Warren Jeffs to court, and his followers back in Short Creek are forced to reckon with his crimes—or not.

Oct 05, 2020
Short Creek | E4 The Kingdom of God or Nothing

In order to understand Short Creek now, you have to understand how it came to be. A determined group of fundamentalists create a community in order to live their religion in peace...but the government has other ideas.

Sep 28, 2020
Short Creek | E3 Keep Sweet, No Matter What

Warren Jeffs becomes prophet of the FLDS Church and kicks out his rivals. Others don’t like what's happening to their religion and make the challenging choice to leave.

Sep 21, 2020
Short Creek | E2 Prophets and Losses

For decades , Short Creek is a pretty great place to live for the faithful. People farm together, worship together, and help build each other's homes. But when the Jeffs rise to power, the communal dream begins to change into something much darker for some.

Sep 14, 2020
Short Creek | E1 The Why Child

Welcome to Short Creek.

Sep 14, 2020
Meet the Hosts of Season Two—Unfinished: Short Creek

Season two, Unfinished: Short Creek, is coming next week! In this bonus episode, Witness Docs senior producer Stephanie Kariuki sits down with the hosts of season one (Taylor Hom and Neil Shea) and the hosts of season two (Ash Sanders and Sarah Ventre) to explore how each season tackles a different aspect of America's unfinished business. We'll hear about reactions to season one from Isadore Banks' family, and we'll learn about Short Creek, home of the FLDS church. Plus, we'll get a sneak peek at some exclusive audio! Find the first two episodes of season two wherever you listen to podcasts on September 14th

Sep 07, 2020
Deep South | E10 The Things We Haven’t Seen

Who lynched Isadore Banks? How does his story echo through the anger and activism of our current moment? And what does justice look like after 66 years?

Aug 31, 2020
Introducing Unfinished: Short Creek

In this season of Unfinished, we’ll take you to Short Creek, a community on the Utah-Arizona border that is home to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), a break-off of the Mormon church. Over 10 episodes, hosts Ash Sanders and Sarah Ventre will tell the story of a truly American faith, of a prophet with unchecked power, and of a fight for democracy. It's a battle over family, home, and the limits of religious freedom. Subscribe now to hear the first two episodes on September 14th.

Aug 24, 2020
Deep South | E9 The Meeting

One meeting, three stories and a clue that leads to knowing more about what happened around the time Isadore was murdered.

Aug 24, 2020
Deep South | E8 Who Lynched Isadore Banks?

A former detective offers us some cold case advice, and we decide to go full frontal on the town of Marion with a 40-foot billboard that asks “Who Lynched Isadore Banks?”

Aug 17, 2020
Deep South | E7 The Stepdaughter

Isadore wasn’t the only victim of racial violence in Crittenden County. We track down a woman whose faded childhood memories could help solve two lynchings. But will she talk?

Aug 10, 2020
Deep South | E6 The Housepainter

The investigation takes a turn when we get the name of a new suspect -- and learn he may have been involved in a second lynching, nine years later.

Aug 03, 2020
Deep South | E5 A Very American Crime

Some people still refuse to call Isadore’s murder a lynching. So in this episode, we take a step back to ask: what, exactly, is a lynching? And why, in 2020, do we still have trouble talking about it?

Jul 27, 2020
Deep South | E4 White Memories

The lynching of Isadore Banks was a catastrophe for the African American community of Marion, Arkansas, and it’s never been forgotten. But for white people, the story is very different. Is this town hiding a secret?

Jul 20, 2020
Deep South | E3 Family Ties

Tracing back Isadore’s family helps understand his wealth. Isadore wasn’t an anomaly- many African Americans in the south had land, built wealth and created their own communities to thrive.

Jul 13, 2020
Deep South | E2 The High Sheriff

A $7 million dollar fortune. A white supremacist sheriff. And a 66-year-old mystery: what happened to Isadore Banks’ land and wealth?

Jul 06, 2020
Deep South | E1 Isadore Banks

For most of his life Isadore Banks found ways to survive—and thrive—in the violently anti-black South. He became one of the largest land-owners on the Arkansas Delta, ran several businesses, and was a leader in his community. Then, something changed.

Jun 29, 2020
Introducing Unfinished: Deep South

Unfinished: Deep South tells the story of a wealthy African American farmer named Isadore Banks who was lynched in 1954. He owned more than 1,000 acres of land along the Arkansas Delta until it all disappeared with his death. In a quest to find his killers and unpack how his murder shattered a community, we’ll get to the heart of America’s unfinished business by asking ‘Who Lynched Isadore Banks?’ Premiering June 29th.

Jun 03, 2020