David Finkelstein Papers, 1964-1966


Dr. David Finkelstein, professor of theoretical physics at New York's Yeshiva University, served on the Mississippi Project Parents Committee in 1964, and he developed a security system for the Mississippi voter registration project based on citizen band radio units. Searching for additional ways to open up what many considered the “closed society” of the South, Finkelstein directed and participated in a Visiting Scientists Program in physics at Tougaloo College in Mississippi; the program ended after the academic year 1964-1965 when Tougaloo added two physicists to its faculty. Finkelstein was also instrumental in establishing the Public Radio Organization (PRO), which was incorporated in New York in November 1965 as an educational non-profit corporation to operate an AM-FM community radio station in central Mississippi. The station, conceived as a sort of “Radio Free Mississippi,” was intended to be “an open channel in a closed society” which would provide both white and black Mississippians with full and unbiased news broadcasting and give them a forum for discussion of their problems. The station was endorsed by such civil rights organizations as NAACP, CORE, SCLC, and SNCC; and by the AFL-CIO, which encouraged its black locals to contribute funds.