Jesse B. Blayton, Sr, CPA graduated from Langston University and served in the US Army in World War I. Mr. Blayton passed the Georgia accounting examination in 1928, becoming the state's first black Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and only the fourth African American nationwide to hold the certification.
Mr. Blayton taught accounting at Atlanta University, where he encouraged younger blacks to enter the profession and authored the accounting text "Essentials of Accounting" in 1944. Because Mr. Blayton invited so many to join the accounting profession, he became known as the "Dean of Negro Accountants."
In 1925, Mr. Blayton, along with 14 other black investors, put in $100 to form Mutual Federal Savings Loan Association. In 1928 Mr. Blayton and two other businessmen reorganized Citizens Trust Bank, which became the first Black bank to join the Federal Reserve. As noted in his letter to Dr. W.E.B DuBois and the letter from Hugh H. Smythe, Mr. Blayton's banks were the source for Black people funding and promoted Black Generational Wealth.
Citizen Trust Bank financed many black homes and businesses, including the Atlanta World Newspaper and the city's first night club "Top Hat," in which BLMIYA Corporation (BLayton, MIlton, YAtes) was the owners.
In 1949 Blayton made history when he bought the 1,000-watt Atlanta radio station WERD, the first Black-owned radio station. WERD's programming included jazz and gospel music, public service programs, educational shows, church services, radio plays, and community news.
Blayton and his radio station publicized the civil rights movement by acting as an outlet for information about the campaign and speeches by prominent civil rights leaders. These leaders included Martin Luther King Jr.; whose Southern Christian Leadership Conference shared the same building as WERD. Dr. King often visited the studio to announce the activities of his organization. This relationship led to Mr. Blayton becoming Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. certified public accountant, and he was a witness in court cases brought against Dr. King's financial affairs, in which Dr. King always prevailed.
In 1995 Mr. Jesse B. Blayton, CPA was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame.
The National Society of Black Certified Public Accountants, Inc. was formed to increase the number of Black CPAs a mission that goes back as far as 1928.
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