FYI October 03, 2018

On This Day

1949 – WERD, the first black-owned radio station in the United States, opens in Atlanta.
WERD was the first radio station owned and programmed by African Americans. The station was established in Atlanta, Georgia on October 3, 1949, broadcasting on 860 AM (now used by WAEC).

WERD Atlanta was the first radio station owned and operated by African-Americans. (WDIA in Memphis was on the air in 1948 doing black—or Negro as it was then called—programming, but the owners were not African American). Jesse B. Blayton Sr., an accountant, bank president, and Atlanta University professor, purchased WERD in 1949 for $50,000. He changed the station format to “black appeal” and hired his son Jesse Jr. as station manager.[1] “Jockey” Jack Gibson was hired and by 1951 he was the most popular DJ in Atlanta.

The station was housed in the Prince Hall Masonic Temple building on Auburn Avenue,[2] then one of the wealthiest black neighborhoods in the United States. Located in that same building was the headquarters of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, formed in 1957, led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and staffed by Ella Baker.[3][4] According to Gibson, King would tap the ceiling of SCLC office [just below WERD] with a broomstick to signal he had an announcement to make. Gibson would then lower a microphone from the studio window to King at the window below.[5]

WDIA, in Memphis, Tennessee, though white owned, had Nat D. Williams as part of the first radio station programmed entirely for African Americans, WERD had “Jockey Jack” Gibson, a friend of Blayton from Chicago.[6] Blayton sold the station in 1968.[7]

Born On This Day

1804 – Allan Kardec, French author, translator, educator and founder of modern Spiritism (d. 1869)
Allan Kardec (French: [kaʁdɛk]) is the pen name of the French educator, translator and author Hippolyte Léon Denizard Rivail ([ʁivɑj]; 3 October 1804 – 31 March 1869). He is the author of the five books known as the Spiritist Codification, and is the founder of Spiritism.[1][2]

Early life
Rivail was born in Lyon in 1804 and raised as a Roman Catholic. He pursued interests in philosophy and the sciences, and became an acolyte and colleague of Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi.[2][3] Rivail completed a number of educational courses including a Bachelor of Arts degrees in science[4] and a doctorate in medicine.[5] He was also fluent in German, English, Italian, and Spanish, in addition to his native French.[6]

He was a member of several scholarly societies, including the Historic Institute of Paris (Institut Historique), Society of Natural Sciences of France (Société des Sciences Naturelles de France), Society for the Encouragement of National Industry (Société d’Encouragement pour l’Industrie Nationale), and The Royal Academy of Arras (Académie d’Arras, Société Royale des Sciences, des Lettres et des Arts).[2] He organized and taught free courses for the underprivileged.[2][7]

Rivail’s work with Pestalozzi helped lay the foundations for the teaching model in schools in France and Germany.[citation needed] For several decades he helped advance Pestalozzi’s pedagogy in France, founding schools and working as a teacher, educational writer and translator.[2]

In February 6, 1832, he married Amélie Gabrielle Boudet.[8]


Rivail was in his early 50s when he became interested in séances, which were a popular entertainment at the time. Strange phenomena attributed to the action of spirits were considered a novelty, featuring objects that moved or “tapped”, purportedly under the control of ‘spirits’. In some cases, this was alleged to be a type of communication: the supposed spirits answered questions by controlling the movements of objects so as to pick out letters to form words, or simply indicate “yes” or “no”.[9][note 1] At the time, Franz Mesmer’s theory of animal magnetism had become popular. When confronted with the phenomena described, some researchers, including Rivail, pointed out that animal magnetism might explain them. Rivail, however, after seeing a demonstration, dismissed animal magnetism as insufficient to explain his observations.[10]

As a result of these influences, Rivail began his own investigation of psychic phenomena, mainly mediumship.[2] During his initial investigation, he stated that before accepting a spiritual or paranormal cause for some phenomena, it would be necessary first to test if ordinary material causes could explain them. He proposed that fraud, hallucination and unconscious mental activity might explain many phenomena regarded as mediumistic, and also proposed that telepathy and clairvoyance may be responsible.[11]

He compiled over one thousand questions concerning the nature and mechanisms of spirit communications, the reasons for human life on earth, and aspects of the spiritual realm. He asked those questions to ten mediums, all purportedly unknown to each other, and documented their responses. From these, he concluded that the best explanation was that personalities that had survived death were the source of at least some mediumistic communications.[12] He became convinced that the mediums:

provided accurate information unknown to themselves or others present (e.g. personal information about deceased individuals);
demonstrated unlearned skills such as writing by illiterate mediums, handwriting similar to the alleged communicating personality, and speaking or writing in a language unknown to the medium (xenoglossy and xenography);
accurately portrayed a range of personality characteristics of deceased individuals.

He compiled the mediums’ responses that were consistent and adapted them into a philosophy that he called Spiritism, which he initially defined as “a science that deals with the nature, origin, and destiny of spirits, and their relation with the corporeal world.”[13][14][14]

Rivail wrote under the name “Allan Kardec”, allegedly following the suggestion of a spirit identified as Truth.[15] On 18 April 1857, Rivail (as Allan Kardec) published his first book on Spiritism, The Spirits’ Book, comprising a series of answered questions (502 in the first edition and 1,019 in later editions)[citation needed] exploring matters concerning the nature of spirits, the spirit world, and the relationship between the spirit world and the material world.[citation needed] This was followed by a series of other books, including The Medium’s Book, The Gospel According to Spiritism, Heaven and Hell and The Genesis According to Spiritism, and by a periodical, the Revue Spirite, which Kardec published until his death. Collectively, the books became known as the Spiritist Codification.[citation needed]

Kardec’s research influenced the psychical research of Charles Richet, Camille Flammarion and Gabriel Delanne.[16][17][18]

After his death caused by aneurysm, Kardec was buried at the Cimetière du Père Lachaise.[19]

Cours pratique et théorique d’arithmétique (1824)
Plan proposé pour l’amélioration de l’éducation publique (1828)
Catéchisme grammatical de la langue française (1848)
Le Livre des Esprits (The Spirits Book), 1857
Le Livre des Médiums (‘The Book on Mediums, 1861
L’Évangile selon le Spiritisme (The Gospel According to Spiritism), 1864
Le Ciel et L’Enfer (Heaven and Hell), 1865
La Genèse (The Genesis According to Spiritism), 1868




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