Entries - Starting with K

Kimbrough, Wilson Whitaker, Jr.

Wilson Whitaker Kimbrough Jr. made distinctive contributions to society through his efforts to professionalize law enforcement in Arkansas. He is considered the father of police and criminal psychology in Arkansas and one of the founders of police and criminal psychology in the United States. Throughout his professional career, he actively supported many mental health initiatives in northwest Arkansas and, as a Washington County Quorum Court member, led in the development of prototype job evaluation and salary administration programs. Wilson Kimbrough Jr., the first son of Lydia Reed and Wilson W. Kimbrough Sr., was born on March 29, 1926, on the family farm northeast of Springdale (Washington County). Both his parents were members of pioneer families of the county and were educators …

Kimpel, Ben Drew

Ben Drew Kimpel, a professor of English at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) from 1952 to 1983, was a widely respected scholar and linguist. He wrote the definitive biography of eighteenth-century novelist Samuel Richardson with UA colleague Duncan Eaves; they also published numerous articles on Richardson and the works of twentieth-century poet Ezra Pound and edited a 1971 edition of Richardson’s novel Pamela. Ben Kimpel was born on November 5, 1915, in Fort Smith (Sebastian County). He was the only son of attorney Ben Drew Kimpel Sr. and Gladys Kimpel. Kimpel attended the public schools (with a private tutor in French) and graduated from Fort Smith High School at age fourteen. He attended Phillips Exeter Academy …

Kindley, Field Eugene

Field Eugene Kindley, recipient of the British Distinguished Flying Cross and an Oak Leaf Cluster for the American Distinguished Service Cross, ranked third in number of aircraft downed for the United States Army Air Service in World War I. Working his way from National Guard volunteer to commissioned Army officer, Kindley commanded the 148th Squadron in France from August 1918 until the end of the war and totaled twelve confirmed kills. Field Kindley was born on March 13, 1896, in a rural area near Pea Ridge (Benton County) to George C. and Ella Kindley. The death of his mother prior to his third birthday disrupted the family, and shortly thereafter in 1898, his father left the country to become the …

King Biscuit Blues Festival

aka: Arkansas Blues and Heritage Festival
The first weekend in October, the Mississippi River town of Helena-West Helena (Phillips County), about seventy miles southwest of Memphis, Tennessee, becomes a thriving community of blues musicians and their fans, gathered to celebrate the King Biscuit Blues Festival. The festival grounds now lie along a levee, but during the early years, the festival was held on the back of a flatbed truck in front of an old train depot, which is now a museum and the site of the Delta Cultural Center on Cherry Street. Cherry Street, which parallels the Mississippi River, is a National Historic District and the historic commercial center of the town. What began in 1986 as a one-day event with a crowd of 500 has …

King Biscuit Time

In November 1941, KFFA, 1360 AM, the first local radio station in Helena (Phillips County), went on the air. Soon after its first broadcast, blues musicians Robert Lockwood Jr. and Sonny Boy Williamson approached owner Sam Anderson with a proposal to air a local blues radio show. Anderson liked the idea, but he knew the show would have to have a sponsor. He directed Lockwood and Williamson to Max Moore, the owner of Interstate Grocery Company, as a possible sponsor. Moore, who recognized the possibilities of marketing to African Americans, agreed to sponsor the show if the musicians would endorse his product. With a corporate sponsor, the King Biscuit Time radio program went on the air on November 21, 1941. …

King Crowley

King Crowley is the most famous archaeological fake produced in Arkansas and was originally part of a collection “found” in Jonesboro (Craighead County) along Crowley’s Ridge in the 1920s and 1930s. Despite the discoverer’s claim that the collection was an important archaeological find, modern researchers now refer to King Crowley and its companions as folk art instead of forgeries, as the pieces did not reproduce prehistoric artifacts. Dentler Rowland, a gunsmith and jeweler from Jonesboro, began selling these artifacts of a “lost” civilization in 1923, and he continued to do so until the 1930s. Rowland claimed to have discovered them while digging along Crowley’s Ridge, an erosional remnant within the Mississippi River Delta upon which Jonesboro was founded. Approximately eighty …

King of Clubs

Part of an informal network of roadside nightclubs, often called roadhouses, the King of Clubs operated for more than fifty years under the ownership of Bob and Evelyn King until they sold the club in 2003. Located on U.S. Highway 67, just north of Swifton (Jackson County), the club was a familiar stop for some of the most famous pioneers in rock and roll music in the 1950s. These performers traveled constantly, making extra money and promoting their records by playing dances and shows in countless venues in cities, small towns, and in roadhouses such as the King of Clubs, which was especially favored by those who played the more southern form of rock and roll commonly termed rockabilly. Those …

King Schoolhouse

The King Schoolhouse is located approximately one mile east of U.S. Highway 71 near the community of King (Sevier County). Built in 1915, the two-story structure is significant for being one of the few surviving school buildings of Colonial Revival style for a railroad community in the county. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 20, 1996. In the late 1880s, the settlement that would become the town of King was established. It was not until after 1897, when the Kansas City Southern Railway laid tracks, that the settlement was promoted to town status. King was named after the King Ryder Lumber Company, which operated a company general store and made King a thriving lumber …

King, Albert

aka: Albert Nelson
Albert King, one of the most influential blues guitarists of all time, was one of the three so-called “Kings of the Blues”—the triumvirate of B. B. King, Freddie King, and himself. His style of single-string-bending intensity—the essence of blues guitar—is evident in the approaches of thousands of acolytes, including Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Eric Clapton. King was born Albert Nelson on April 25, 1923, on a cotton plantation in Indianola, Mississippi. He had twelve known siblings. His father, Will Nelson, an amateur guitarist, had a major impact on his music. Though he was mainly self-taught, he was inspired by Blind Lemon Jefferson. His singing in a family gospel group at a nearby church also influenced his music. He …

King, Bertha Hale

aka: Bertha Hale White
Bertha Hale King was a socialist activist in the first part of the twentieth century. Although born in Illinois, she received most of her early education in Arkansas before leaving the state to serve as a high-ranking official in the national Socialist Party. Bertha Hale was born in Nashville, Illinois, in 1878. Her father was a farmer, but little else is known about her parents. She attended primary school in Golden City, Missouri, just over the state line from Illinois. The family then moved to Arkansas. Following graduation from high school in Fort Smith (Sebastian County), she attended Buckner College, a small Baptist school just a few miles north of Huntington (Sebastian County). In preparation for a teaching career, she …

King, Helen Martin

Helen Martin King was one of Arkansas’s most unique artists, developing the almost-forgotten craft of rug hooking. She became a designer, teacher, and businesswoman, creating thousands of original designs, teaching classes, and creating cottage industries within the state. Helen Martin was born at Powhatan (Lawrence County) on September 20, 1895, the only child of John William Martin, a prosperous landowner and lumberman, and Clara Isabelle Norment Martin. Martin’s family moved to Batesville (Independence County) when she was a young child, and she acquired her elementary and high school education at the preparatory school of Arkansas College (now Lyon College). In 1913, at the age of eighteen, she married a local merchant, Fitzhugh Hail. Within a year of her marriage, both …

King’s River, Skirmish at

One of a number of skirmishes fought in northwestern Arkansas in April 1864, this engagement was part of an effort by Federal forces to disrupt Confederate operations. Major James Melton received orders to lead 200 men of the Second Arkansas Cavalry (US) on a mission to find and defeat Confederate forces under the command of Colonels Bailey and Sissell (first names unknown). Separating from the regiment on April 15, 1864, the Union troops found and engaged the enemy on April 17 at Limestone Valley. The Confederates fled, but not before suffering casualties and losing armaments and other equipment. Melton continued his pursuit of the enemy force, reengaging the Confederates on April 19 on the King’s River. Moving against the enemy, …

Kings Creek (Scott County)

Kings Creek is a historical community in northwestern Scott County located along Highway 378. The community of Kings Creek is situated along a tributary of the Petit Jean River that carries the same name. Agriculture has traditionally been important to Kings Creek and the surrounding area. Prior to European exploration, the area surrounding Kings Creek was an unexplored wilderness. Species of wildlife that longer inhabit the area, such as elk and buffalo, were present throughout the region. Archaeological findings have provided evidence of early inhabitants dating to the Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian periods. Additional evidence has indicated that the Caddo tribe had a strong presence along the Petit Jean River and other prominent waterways. Throughout the late seventeenth and early …

Kings River

The Kings River runs for about ninety miles through Madison and Carroll counties to its confluence with the White River arm of Table Rock Lake, located on the Missouri–Arkansas border. As with other rivers that begin on the north-facing slopes of the Boston Mountains, the Kings River flows north. The river divides Carroll County politically; in 1883, the Arkansas legislature recognized two judicial districts, at Berryville (Carroll County) and Eureka Springs (Carroll County), on opposite sides of the river, though the river itself was not the legal boundary until 2011. The Kings River drains from two very different subsections of the Ozarks. Its headwaters form in the oak forests of the Boston Mountains sub-region of the Ozark Plateau near the …

Kingsland (Cleveland County)

Birthplace of musical legend Johnny Cash and of famed football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, the city of Kingsland was created by the railroad industry and the timber industry. Reaching its high point in size and glamour during its first few years of existence, the city has dwindled in size and importance but remains the second-largest city in Cleveland County. Dorsey County—later renamed Cleveland County—was sparsely settled when it was created by the Arkansas General Assembly in 1873. Heavily forested, the region was ready for the harvesting of timber when the Texas & St. Louis Southwestern Railway (known as the Cotton Belt) was built across the county in 1882. Seventy-five people, mostly engaged in the timber industry, lived near the railway …

Kingston School

The Kingston (Madison County) school district was established on January 25, 1869. As with most districts following the Civil War, the school operated only six to eight weeks a year, due to lack of funding and the children being needed for farm work. In 1916, the Reverend Elmer J. Bouher was granted permission by the Home Missions of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. to take charge of the abandoned church mission at Kingston. Bouher arrived later that year ready to put his “Kings Plan” into action. The plan was to (1) unite the church and school; (2) create a community building program; (3) teach health and hygiene to the entire community; and (4) improve farming methods and local roads. …

Kingston, Skirmishes at

Only two Civil War skirmishes are known to have occurred near Kingston (Madison County). One of the best-known area skirmishes occurred when a detachment of the First Iowa Cavalry captured and destroyed a saltpeter works southeast of Kingston on January 10, 1863. (Saltpeter is a major component of gunpowder.) Information about the operation of these works reached General Francis J. Herron in early 1863, and he was determined to destroy the works at once, thus depriving the Confederacy of the means of obtaining powder for its troops that were so near his lines. He ordered Major J. W. Caldwell of the First Iowa Cavalry, then encamped at Huntsville (Madison County), to take 300 men of his regiment and proceed to …

Kirby (Pike County)

  Kirby is located on Highway 70 in Pike County, about halfway between Glenwood (Pike County) and Daisy (Pike County). It is six miles east of Daisy State Park, part of the shoreline of Lake Greeson. Although Kirby has nearly 800 residents, it has never incorporated. Among the early landowners in the region were William A. Faries, who bought land just to the west of what is now Kirby in 1856, and Little D. Cantrell, who owned several parcels of land east and south of the community. The town was named for Joseph Lytal Kirby, who actually lived in Red Land (Pike County), several miles away. Before adopting Kirby’s name, the settlement was known as Cross Roads because of the …

Kirby, William Fosgate

William Fosgate Kirby was an associate justice on the Arkansas Supreme Court and also served as state attorney general and U.S. senator. A friend and political ally of Jeff Davis, Kirby was a member of the Democratic Party and an ardent agrarian populist. His convictions led to his spirited opposition to President Woodrow Wilson’s efforts to involve the United States in World War I. Born on November 16, 1867, near Texarkana (Miller County), William F. Kirby was the son of Joseph F. and Martha (Ferguson) Kirby. His father was an ex-Confederate who moved into the state from Alabama and took up agriculture. Kirby grew up on the family farm with his three brothers. He received his secondary education in local …

Kirkendall, Mose (Lynching of)

On July 20, 1878, an African American named Mose Kirkendall was hanged in Boone County for allegedly attempting to rape a “Miss Walters,” a young white woman. This was reportedly the first lynching in Boone County. Although there was no Mose Kirkendall recorded as living in Boone County at the time of the 1870 census, there was a thirteen-year-old named Moses Kirkendale living in the household of farmer J. M. Moore and his wife, America, near Searcy (White County). There were other unrelated people living with the family, including fifteen-year-old A. Kirkendale, who may have been Moses’s brother. The alleged victim may have been Martha Walters, who was thirteen years old by the 1870 census and one of six children …

Kitchens, Wade Hampton

Wade Hampton Kitchens was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He represented the Fourth District of Arkansas in the Seventy-fifth and Seventy-sixth Congresses from 1937 to 1941. Wade Hampton Kitchens was born on December 26, 1878, on a farm near Falcon (Nevada County) to James Monroe Kitchens and Margret Sherrill Kitchens. He had eleven siblings. His formal education included the area’s local common schools, Southern Academy, and then the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County), which he attended from 1895 to 1898. With no academic legal education available at the university or anywhere within the state, Kitchens left UA and continued his formal studies at the law department of Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee, from …

Kizer, Bernice Lichty Parker

Bernice Lichty Parker Kizer was a lawyer and a path-breaking state legislator and judge in Arkansas in the second half of the twentieth century. After almost fifteen years in the Arkansas General Assembly, Kizer stepped down to seek election as a probate judge. Her subsequent victory made her the first woman in state history to be elected to a judgeship. Bernice Lichty was born on August 14, 1915, in Fort Smith (Sebastian County) to E. C. Lichty and Opal Lichty. She graduated from Fort Smith High School in 1932 and worked for two years as a grocery checker at Fort Smith’s first self-serve grocery store in order to save money for college. She initially attended Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, …

Klepper’s Sawmill, Skirmish at

aka: Skirmish at Clapper's Sawmill
In early 1863, Confederate general John Sappington Marmaduke moved his forces out of Lewisburg (Conway County) to attack Springfield, Missouri. This action caused Union general Francis J. Herron to move to reinforce Springfield and defend against the Confederate forces. After the battle, the Federals retained control of the town, and Confederate forces filtered back down into Arkansas. General Herron sent Colonel William Weer to disrupt the Confederate forces in the Crooked Creek valley, forces which were concentrated between Carrollton (Carroll County) and Yellville (Marion County). Confederate captain E. G. Mitchell was also in the area recruiting. On March 31, 1863, Confederates under one Colonel Woodson and Colonel John F. Hill of W. H. Brooks’s command were in camp when attacked …

Klipsch Group, Inc.

Klipsch Group, Inc. of Hope (Hempstead County), formerly Klipsch Audio Technologies, is one of the leading loudspeaker companies in the United States and a world leader in premium-quality audio products. The company’s official motto, “A Legend in Sound,” has also been applied to its founder, Paul Klipsch, who was eulogized as “a great inventor, engineer, scientist, pilot and legendary eccentric.” Holding patents in acoustics, ballistics, and geophysics, Klipsch had a revolutionary vision for audio design and founded the company that bears his name in 1946. Paul Wilbur Klipsch was born on March 9, 1904, in Elkhart, Indiana, to Oscar Klipsch and Minna Eddy Klipsch. As a boy, he enjoyed music and was fascinated with sound. At age fifteen, he built …

Knight’s Cove, Skirmish at

  In the absence of Colonel Thomas Freeman (CS), who had been captured at the Battle of Pea Ridge, a somewhat disorganized band was left in charge of protecting the Confederate munitions efforts in the White River valley under the direction of William Chitwood. On May 11, 1862, ferry owner Charles Grigsby and Chitwood, the husband of Grigsby’s cousin, Sarah Fulks, had rigged the ferry, a vital means of crossing the White River, with explosives mimicking a snag in the water, thus sinking the Grigsby Ferry and killing eleven Union soldiers, including Captain Thomas McClelland. “The Union army has very little options in crossing the White River,” General Samuel Curtis wrote in his report. The Union officially deemed it an …

Knights of Labor

The largest American labor organization of its era, the Knights of Labor (KOL) recruited workers across boundaries of gender, race, and skill. The organization claimed more than 700,000 members at its peak in 1886, and actual membership at that time may have surpassed one million. In Arkansas, membership peaked at over 5,000 in 1887, and despite the KOL’s official view of strikes as a measure of last resort, the organization led strikes in Arkansas among railroad workers, coal miners, and African-American farmhands. During the 1890s, the KOL sank into oblivion, but the organization played a pioneering role in both the unionization and political mobilization of workers in factories, mines, and farms. Origins Formed as a secret organization in Philadelphia in …

Knobel (Clay County)

Knobel is a city in Clay County, about seven miles south of Corning (Clay County). Once a stop on the Iron Mountain Railroad, Knobel remains a minor agricultural center for the surrounding region. Frequently flooded by the Mississippi River and shaken by the New Madrid Earthquakes of 1811–1812, northeastern Arkansas remained sparsely settled until after the Civil War. The region consisted largely of swampland and hardwood forests, and no one lived permanently in the place that would become Knobel until after the Civil War. Many people passed through the area, however, since the site was on the road that connected Chalk Bluff (Clay County) on the St. Francis River to Pocahontas (Randolph County). In 1866, J. H. Allen began farming …

Knoop, Faith Yingling

Faith Yingling Knoop was a prolific author who wrote children’s books, short stories, a popular Arkansas history textbook, and more than 250 articles for seventy-five different publications. Among other accolades, she won first prize in the 1948 National League of American Pen Women’s Contest. Faith Yingling was born on December 6, 1896, in Elgin, Illinois, the daughter of Irvin Dean Yingling, a watchmaker and optometrist, and Maud (Waddles) Yingling. She had an older brother. Childhood for Yingling was filled with summer trips to visit her grandparents in Illinois and Washington DC. They were avid sightseers and acquainted her with parks, museums, and other landmarks of New York, Chicago, and Washington. Her mother took her to New York to her first …

Know-Nothing Party

aka: American Party
Following the collapse of their party nationally in 1852, many Arkansas Whigs found a new home in the American Party, more popularly known as the Know-Nothings. The Know-Nothings sought to avoid the nation’s impending disunion over slavery and regional divisions by replacing sectional tensions with opposition to Roman Catholics and immigrants, who were presented as potential competitors to “real” Americans for access to jobs and land. First organized through a network of secret fraternal lodges, the Know-Nothings acquired their odd name because their members, sworn to secrecy, were supposed to answer, “I know nothing,” when asked about the party. Although the Know-Nothings did well in the Little Rock (Pulaski County) city elections in 1856, the state’s small Roman Catholic and …

Knoxville (Johnson County)

  Knoxville is a city in southeastern Johnson County, close to Lake Dardanelle. Originally developed as a railroad town, Knoxville is crossed by both U.S. Highway 64 and Interstate 40. The Arkansas River Valley has long been inhabited, as can be seen by rock art that still exists in Johnson County. The Osage claimed the area as hunting territory at the time of the Louisiana Purchase, and a treaty later gave the land to the Cherokee for a few years, until a subsequent treaty moved them farther west. The first white man to own the land on which Knoxville would be established was Thomas May, who has been described as Arkansas’s first millionaire. May owned nearly 800 acres of bottomland in …

Kochel, Guy Ward, Jr.

Guy Kochel became a renowned track-and-field coach at Arkansas State University (ASU) in Jonesboro (Craighead County). His career included building a successful college-level track program, guiding Olympic medalists, working in financial services, and serving as a church pastor. Guy Ward Kochel Jr. was born on May 16, 1941, in Reydell, an unincorporated farm community in Jefferson County. His parents, Pauline Kochel and Guy Ward Kochel Sr., owned a store, with his father also farming and serving as postmaster. An only child, Kochel was attracted to athletics from an early age. He played whatever sport was in season, including baseball and track, but later said his first love was baseball. He attended high school in DeWitt (Arkansas County), which was more …

Kochiyama, Yuri

Yuri Kochiyama, the daughter of Japanese immigrants, was incarcerated during World War II at the Jerome Relocation Center in Arkansas. She later became a human rights activist and was famously photographed cradling the head of Malcom X following his assassination. Kochiyama was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. Mary Yuriko (Yuri) Nakahara was born on May 19, 1921, in a working-class neighborhood in San Pedro, California, to Japanese immigrants Seiichi Nakahara and Tsuyako Nakahara. She attended San Pedro High School, where she became student body vice president, played on the tennis team, and served as a sports writer for the San Pedro News-Pilot. After graduating from high school in 1939, she attended Compton Junior College. Her community service …

KOKY

Called the “Greater Little Rock Ebony Station” at its inception in 1956, KOKY was the first radio station in Arkansas to be staffed by African Americans and to feature programming directed toward a black audience. Founded in Little Rock (Pulaski County), the station has featured on-air talent like Leo “Jocko” Carter and Al Bell. John M. McLendon was a thirty-three-year-old broadcaster from Jackson, Mississippi, who owned three radio stations in Mississippi, including WOKJ in Jackson; like KOKY, WOKJ’s target audience was African Americans. During the summer of 1956, McLendon was granted a license by the Federal Communications Commission to operate a station in Little Rock called “Ebony Radio” until call letters could be established. At 9:00 a.m., October 8, 1956, …

Korean War

On June 25, 1950, North Korean forces invaded South Korea after failed negotiations for the reunification of the country. Unprepared for this show of force, Seoul, the capital of South Korea, fell in only four days. As the conflict grew, North and South Korea became a Cold War battleground. Officially considered only a “police action” by the United States, the ensuing three-year military conflict included twenty-two countries and resulted in the deaths of an estimated two to four million military personnel and civilians, including 36,940 American soldiers. Although it had little direct impact on civilian Arkansans, approximately 6,300 Arkansans fought in the Korean War, and 461 were killed. Six Arkansans—Gilbert G. Collier, Lloyd “Scooter” Burke, Charles L. Gilliland, Herbert A. …

Korean War Markers and Memorials

A number of markers and memorials to members of the armed forces who served in the Korean War are located across Arkansas. While some of the monuments are standalone structures, others include Korean War veterans alongside service members from other conflicts, including World War II and the Vietnam War. The Arkansas Korean War Veterans Memorial is located on the grounds of the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History in Little Rock (Pulaski County). Dedicated on June 25, 2007, the memorial includes three statues. One represents the military members who served in the conflict, one honors the Korean people, and one remembers the medical personnel who served during the war. Black granite stones include the names of 461 Arkansans who died …

Koroa

The Koroa are one of many “small tribes” of the southeastern United States that are mentioned briefly in historic accounts and then fade from the records during the colonial period. There is evidence that some Koroa may have resided in present-day Arkansas in the late seventeenth century, but the ancestral homeland, cultural roots, and historic fate of the Koroa remain issues of disagreement among today’s scholars. In the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, numerous missionaries, explorers, and colonists traveling through the Lower Mississippi River Valley made reference to Koroa (or people whose names sounded similar, like Coloa, Kourea, Currous, Akoroa) residing in a number of locations in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. There is not enough information to locate these …

Kountz, Samuel Lee, Jr.

Samuel Lee Kountz Jr. was a physician and pioneer in organ transplantation, particularly renal transplant research and surgery. An Arkansas success story, he overcame the limitations of his childhood as an African American in the Delta region of a racially segregated state to achieve national and world prominence in the medical field. Sam Kountz was born on October 20, 1930, in Lexa (Phillips County) to the Reverend J. S. Kountz, a Baptist minister, and his wife, Emma. He was the eldest of three sons. Kountz lived in a small town with an inadequate school system in one of the most impoverished regions of the state. He attended a one-room school in Lexa until the age of fourteen, at which point …

Kramer, Frederick

Frederick Kramer emigrated in 1848 from Prussia to the United States, settling in the 1850s in Little Rock (Pulaski County), where he became a wealthy businessman and a participant in the city’s civic life. He served two terms as an alderman (1869–1872) and four terms as mayor (1873–75, 1881–1887). Also, he was elected to Little Rock’s first school board in 1869 and served continuously on the board until 1894, most years as the board’s president. He was a member, and often an officer, in social and service organizations ranging from the Casino Club, of which he was president, to the Masons, in which he rose to the highest ranks. Frederick Kramer was born on December 22, 1829, in or near …

Kream Kastle

The Kream Kastle is a family owned and operated restaurant located at 112 North Division Street in Blytheville (Mississippi County). It has achieved a regional and state reputation for both its food and for its history as a central meeting place in the Blytheville community and as part of the larger Delta culture. A son of first-generation Lebanese and Syrian immigrants, Steven Johns started the business in July 1952 in a small building with window service only. In its early days, the Kream Kastle was a high-volume/low-overhead hot dog stand. As the menu expanded, so did its transition to a full-fledged drive-in. Before outdoor speakers, Johns employed car hops who wore white uniforms in all weather. Later, covered parking and …

Krieger, Heinrich

Heinrich Krieger was a German lawyer instrumental in providing knowledge of American race law to Nazi policy-makers. As an exchange student at the University of Arkansas School of Law in Fayetteville (Washington County) in 1933–34, he engaged in an in-depth examination of American Indian Law. Some of his research later served as the basis for the Nuremberg Laws, the centerpiece anti-Jewish legislation of the early Nazi regime. Heinrich Krieger’s date of birth is unknown. There is no information about what brought him to Arkansas. Upon his return to Germany, Krieger produced a memorandum—presumably based on research he had begun in Arkansas—that was used in a critical 1934 meeting for planning what would become the Nuremberg Laws. The memorandum described American …

Kruse Gold Mine

William (Will) Henry Kruse (1860–1925) sought gold ore deposits in Rogers (Benton County) on his father’s eighty-acre farm. His hunt for the precious metal was triggered neither by scientific nor geological verification but rather inspired by psychic revelations he combined with automatic writings pointing him to a precise site where he believed wholeheartedly that he would find enough gold to end world misery. To this end, he established Kruse Gold Mine and spent the remainder of his life trying to fulfill the renderings of his visualizations. Will Kruse was born in Ohio, though his family moved to Le Sueur, Minnesota, the following year. In 1883, his father, Henry Kruse, purchased an eighty-acre tract in Rogers, eventually moving there in the …

KTHS

KTHS, which became KAAY in 1962, is thought to be Arkansas’s third-oldest continuously licensed broadcast radio station. The station survived the turbulent years of broadcasting’s infancy, government regulations, and changes in location and frequencies to become Arkansas’s first 50,000-watt clear-channel station. KTHS was also known for its role in launching the career of the comedy team Lum and Abner. Radio station KTHS was built in 1924 on the upper floor of the new Arlington Hotel in Hot Springs (Garland County). Facilities included studios and ballrooms wired for broadcast. Two steel towers were installed on the roof between the hotel building’s towers, one 150 feet tall, the other 125 feet, to support the transmitting antenna. Test broadcasts began on December 11, …

Ku Klux Klan (after 1900)

The original Ku Klux Klan (KKK) formed sometime between 1865 and 1866 in Pulaski, Tennessee. Nathan Bedford Forrest, the first acknowledged Klan leader, took actions to disband the organization in 1869. A resurgence in Klan activity occurred starting in 1915, and states such as Arkansas were home to newly forming Klan groups during the 1920s. By 1955, the threat of school integration ushered in a new Klan era even though independent Klan groups were a fixture on the American landscape in some way or another from the 1920s on. One of the first official Klan acts in Arkansas was a donation to the Prescott (Nevada County) Christmas fund in December 1921. Shortly thereafter, other Klan groups formed with the goal …

Ku Klux Klan (Reconstruction)

The Reconstruction era in Arkansas witnessed the first of many incarnations of the state’s most well-known white supremacist organization, the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). In the years after the Civil War, African Americans not only had to struggle to achieve equality under the law, but—along with their white supporters—they had to endure intimidation, whippings, shootings, and murders. Although much of the racial violence was random, it was also during this time that the KKK began its long history of using violence to achieve political ends. The Ku Klux Klan first appeared in Arkansas in April 1868, just a month after African Americans voted in Arkansas elections for the first time. A year earlier, Congress passed the Reconstruction Acts, which put …

KUAF

KUAF began broadcasting as a ten-watt station in January 1973 from a renovated clapboard house on Duncan Street in Fayetteville (Washington County). Owned by the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville, the station began as a student-run operation with a staff of twenty-five students and a faculty advisor, Dennis O’Neal, from the Department of Journalism. The station served as a training ground for students. Planning for the station began the year before its debut. The initial finances were provided by the Associated Student Government and Student Services Allocations. A transmitter was installed on the top of Yocum Hall, and a survey was conducted during registration in fall 1972 to determine what type of music the students most preferred. The most …

Kudzu

Kudzu (Pueraria lobata) is an invasive vine characterized by aggressive growth and clusters of grape-scented purple flowers. It was recognized as a weed in 1972 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). A native plant of Asia, kudzu has been used for over two millennia in Asian cooking and medicine. Kudzu was introduced to the United States at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition (1876) and to southerners at the New Orleans Exposition (1884–1886). Kudzu’s foothold in the American South is largely the result of the efforts of Charles Pleas, Channing Cope, and the Soil Conservation Service (SCS). Pleas owned Glen Arden Nursery in Chipley, Florida, along with his wife, Lillie. After Pleas discovered kudzu’s usefulness for livestock forage and as a …

Kumpe, Roy Franklin

Roy Franklin Kumpe founded World Services for the Blind. Visually impaired from trachoma—a viral infection that causes cornea scarring—he worked to create educational and employment opportunities for people who are blind or visually impaired, both in Arkansas and around the world. Roy Kumpe was born on January 18, 1910, in Ironton (Pulaski County) to Dave and Mary Kumpe. Kumpe was the fourth child; however, two sisters died in infancy between his birth and his older sister’s. The family lived on a forty-acre farm, and Kumpe’s father raised livestock and grew produce that he sold to grocers. After the onset of blindness at the age of eight, Kumpe attended the Arkansas School for the Blind. Declining any financial assistance from his …

KUOA

Radio station KUOA started at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) and later belonged to John Brown University (JBU) in Siloam Springs (Benton County). These schools used the station to broadcast programs such as educational talks, religious programs, music, local information, and sports. In the twenty-first century, KUOA is an all-sports station nicknamed “Hog Sportsradio.” It is generally considered to be the oldest radio station in Arkansas that is still broadcasting. According to Ray Poindexter in his book Arkansas Airwaves, the UA Department of Engineering began experiments with a wireless telegraph in 1897 and had a wireless station in 1916 licensed with the call letters 5YM. A license for the school’s first commercial AM radio station, KFMQ, …

Kuroda, Paul Kazuo

Paul Kazuo Kuroda, professor of chemistry at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County), brought international attention to scientific research in Arkansas by correctly predicting the presence of naturally occurring nuclear reactors nearly twenty years before the first discovery of a reactor of this kind in the Oklo Mines in the Republic of Gabon in west-central Africa. Paul Kuroda was born on April 1, 1917, in Kurogi, Fukoka Prefecture, Kyushu, Japan, the only child of Kanjiro Kuroda—a school teacher, official at the Ministry of Education, and noted calligrapher—and Shige Kuroda. Kuroda earned BS and doctoral degrees in pure chemistry from Tokyo Imperial University (now the University of Tokyo) in 1939 and 1944, respectively. Upon completion of his doctorate, …

Kurosaki, Ryan

Ryan Yoshimoto Kurosaki, the first American of Japanese descent to play in the major leagues, is a former professional baseball player and firefighter from Honolulu, Hawaii. In 1974, he signed as a free agent with the St. Louis Cardinals, making his major league debut on May 20, 1975. He pitched for the Cardinals for one season but spent most of his career with minor league teams, first in Modesto, California, and then with the Arkansas Travelers, the Naranjeros de Hermosillo in Mexico, and the Springfield Redbirds in Springfield, Illinois. In the fall of 1980, Kurosaki retired from baseball and moved to Benton (Saline County). Ryan Yoshimoto Kurosaki was born on July 3, 1952, in Honolulu, Hawaii, to Katsuto Kurosaki and …