Affonso Gil Mendes Ferreira
Affonso Gil Mendes Ferreira, a pioneer of Portuguese-language radio in the U.S., was born in Portugal and immigrated to Taunton, Massachusetts in 1920.
He was known to his listeners in Rhode Island and Massachusetts as “Ferreira-Mendes.” His radio program, “A Voz de Portugal” (Voice of Portugal) first aired in the early 1930s. He is also credited with founding the first daily Portuguese radio station in United States, which operated from 1952 to 1967 out of Providence, Rhode Island. Over the years, he solicited from his listeners more than $500,000 in charitable donations for various humanitarian causes. From 1925 to 1976, he also published “O Heraldo Portuguez,” a biannual, Portuguese newspaper. In recognition for his pioneer work in the field of broadcasting and journalism, in 1983 the Portuguese government awarded him the Order of Prince Henry the Navigator, the highest award presented to a civilian.