Entries - Entry Category: Law - Starting with K

Kahl, Gordon (Shooting of)

aka: Smithville Shootout
Gordon Kahl was a North Dakota farmer and World War II veteran who, starting in the late 1960s, refused to file his federal income taxes on the grounds that the American government operated under the Communist Manifesto and violated his religious principles. After over a decade of militant tax evasion and a year in prison, Kahl was shot during an attempted arrest in Smithville (Lawrence County) by County Sheriff Gene Matthews in an incident that made national headlines as the “Smithville Shootout.” Kahl’s life and the circumstances of his death have since become a popular subject for conspiracy theorists and those on the far right of the political spectrum. Gordon Wendell Kahl was born in 1920 in Heaton, North Dakota, …

Kaplan, Philip Edwin

Philip Edwin Kaplan is a noted lawyer living in Little Rock (Pulaski County). As a nationally known attorney focusing on civil and human rights, he helped inmates in the Arkansas prison system fight unjust treatment. He also argued cases against the teaching of creationism in Arkansas’s public schools and in support of a professor who lost his job for being a communist. Philip Kaplan was born in Winthrop, Massachusetts, on January 4, 1938, and grew up in Lynn, Massachusetts, with his parents and one brother. He studied government at Harvard University and graduated in 1959. He graduated from the University of Michigan with an LLB degree in 1962. He was licensed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts but soon relocated to …

Kees, Willie (Lynching of)

On April 29, 1936, a nineteen-year-old African-American man named Willie Kees was shot near Lepanto (Poinsett County) for allegedly attempting to attack a white woman. It was both the first recorded lynching in Poinsett County and the last recorded lynching in Arkansas. On April 18, Kees allegedly attacked the woman on a bridge just outside of town. She screamed, and two men came to her rescue. Kees was turned over to city marshal Jay May and put in jail. That night, May intercepted a mob that was coming to the jail to get Kees and dissuaded the citizens from doing so. He told reporters for the Arkansas Gazette that, because of the darkness, he was unable to identify anyone in the mob. Kees had …

Kennedy, James (Lynching of)

James Kennedy was a white man lynched in Dallas County in 1866, apparently for his open Unionist leanings. His murder shows the risks that many people who had allied with the Union during the Civil War faced in parts of Arkansas in the immediate postwar period, when pro-Confederate vigilantes perpetrated with impunity a number of assassinations and attacks under the guise of lawfulness. The August 3, 1866, lynching of forty-four-year-old James Kennedy and other men made news in the August 10, 1866, Little Rock Daily Gazette (under which name the Arkansas Gazette then operated) as follows: “We learn from a reliable source that on Wednesday night last a party of ten or twelve men went to the residence of James …

Kessler v. Strecker

Kessler v. Strecker was a U.S. Supreme Court case in 1939 concerning the arrest and planned deportation of Joseph George (a.k.a. Josef or Joe Georg) Strecker, a Hot Springs (Garland County) restaurant owner, for alleged membership in the Communist Party. This case happened around the time Texas congressman Martin Dies was publicly demanding the deportation of International Longshoremen’s Association head Harry Bridges for similar reasons. When Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins refused to act on Bridges’s case until Strecker’s case was settled, Republicans began impeachment proceedings against her. Born on August 29, 1888, in Galicia, then a part of Austria-Hungary, Strecker immigrated to the United States in 1912 and worked in coal mines before settling in Hot Springs, running a …

Key, Lee (Lynching of)

On May 10, 1901, an African-American man named Lee Key was shot by a masked mob near Knoxville (Johnson County) for allegedly terrorizing other Black residents in the area. Newspaper reports described Key as “obstreperous,” “notorious,” and “troublesome.” According to the Arkansas Democrat, he had been terrorizing other African Americans and “making himself obnoxious in various ways.” He reportedly had shot and wounded another Black man in Knoxville several years earlier, and had served time in the state penitentiary for other crimes. On Friday night, May 10, a group of masked men went to Key’s house and called to him to come out. Key grabbed a shotgun, but before he could fire, a member of the mob shot him with …

King, Frank (Lynching of)

On June 17, 1895, an African-American minister named Frank King was hanged in Portland (Ashley County) for allegedly shooting and seriously wounding one of his deacons, William Toney. Frank King may be the twenty-two-year-old man who the federal census shows married eighteen-year-old Sophia George in Ashley County in September 1887. According to one report, King, a Baptist pastor, was “on intimate terms” with William Toney’s wife. On Monday, July 16, when the two men met on the street, King allegedly pulled a pistol and shot Toney twice in the abdomen. King tried to escape but was captured and placed in jail in Portland. That same night, a mob of African Americans took King from the jail and “stealthily and quietly” …

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 …

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, …

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 …