Gender: Male - Starting with K

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 …

Kavanaugh, William Marmaduke

William Marmaduke Kavanaugh was briefly a U.S. senator for Arkansas after the death of incumbent Jeff Davis. In addition, Kavanaugh also served as managing editor of the Arkansas Gazette from 1890 to 1896, sheriff and tax collector for Pulaski County from 1896 to 1900, probate and county judge from 1900 to 1904, and member of the National Democratic Committee from Arkansas from 1912 to 1915. William M. Kavanaugh was born on March 3, 1866, near Eutaw in Greene County, Alabama, to the Reverend Hubbard Hinde Kavanaugh and Anna Kimbrough Kavanaugh; he was one of six children. His father was a minister in the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and chaplain of the Orphans Brigade, which was the only Confederate brigade from …

Kays, Victor Cicero (V. C.)

Victor Cicero (V. C.) Kays was the founding president of the First District State Agricultural School, which evolved into Arkansas State University (ASU) in Jonesboro (Craighead County). During his thirty-two-and-a-half-year tenure, Kays guided the institution through trying circumstances and led its transformation from a regional agricultural training school to a college that offered four-year academic degree programs. He was successful despite hardships that were magnified by the impact of two world wars, the Great Depression, meager public funding, and a fire that consumed the college’s main building. V. C. Kays was born on July 24, 1882, in Magnolia, Illinois, one of six children of John A. Kays and Mary Alice Kays. His father was a farmer. After finishing high school …

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 …

Keet, James Holland (Jim), III

Jim Keet is a former member of the Arkansas General Assembly who served in both the House and the Senate. He also conducted two unsuccessful political campaigns, one for U.S. Congress and one for Arkansas governor. A prominent Arkansas businessman, he became a major developer in the regional restaurant and hospitality business. James Holland Keet III was born in Springfield, Missouri, on May 12, 1949, to prominent lawyer and judge James Holland Keet Jr. and Virginia Keet. In 1971, he graduated from Southern Methodist University (SMU), earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration. While at SMU, he served as the student body president of the School of Business. After graduation, Keet began a lifelong career in the hospitality industry and …

Keith, Jeff

Vocalist Jeff Keith is best known for his work as lead singer of the popular American “hair metal” band Tesla, which he joined in 1982. Although Keith spent most of his life in northern California and the small town of Idabel in McCurtain County, Oklahoma, he was born in Arkansas in Texarkana (Miller County). Keith has performed on numerous tours with artists such as Alice Cooper, Def Leppard, Poison, Van Halen, David Lee Roth, and Led Zeppelin. He is also known for his support of Toys for Tots, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Nor Cal Clean and Sober Living through his annual Ride for Reason concerts. Jeffrey Lynn Keith was born on October 12, 1958, in Texarkana. When Keith was …

Kell, George Clyde

George Clyde Kell was a professional baseball player, announcer, and businessman and is a member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame and the National Baseball Hall of Fame. A lifelong resident of the small Arkansas town in which he was born, Kell also served for ten years as a member of the state’s Highway Commission and was campaign chairman for Dale Bumpers in the 1970 gubernatorial race. George Kell was born August 23, 1922, in Swifton (Jackson County) to Clyde and Alma Kell. His father, a barber, was a pitcher on the local semiprofessional baseball team, and Kell and his two younger brothers grew up playing the game. After high school, Kell began studying at Arkansas State College (now …

Kendrick, Eddie Lee

Eddie Lee Kendrick was a self-taught artist who was inspired by the Arkansas landscape, his dreams, gospel music, and his Christian faith. Though Kendrick had drawn and painted all his life, his art was not well known until 1993, when three works were included in Passionate Visions of the American South: Self-Taught Artists from 1940 to the Present, an exhibition organized by the New Orleans Museum of Art and curated by Alice Rae Yelen. Eddie Kendrick was born on September 20, 1928, on a farm near Stephens (Ouachita County), and he lived in Arkansas most of his life. He was the first of fifteen children born to farmers John Henry and Rutha Mae Kendrick. Kendrick helped in the annual slaughter …

Kennedy, Cortez

Mississippi County native Cortez Kennedy was considered one of the best defensive tackles to have played in the National Football League (NFL). After an eleven-year career with the Seattle Seahawks, he retired in 2000. In 2012, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and he was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2015. Cortez Kennedy was born on August 23, 1968, in Osceola (Mississippi County). He spent his first eighteen years in the small town of Wilson (Mississippi County), where he was raised by his mother, Ruby, and stepfather, Joe Harris. With few activities available in the rural setting, Kennedy turned to football, becoming a star defensive player at Rivercrest High School. His promising …

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 …

Kennedy, John

John Kennedy was a Union artilleryman who won a Medal of Honor for gallantry in the 1864 Battle of Trevilian Station in Virginia. He spent the last part of his life in Arkansas and is buried in Oakland and Fraternal Cemetery in Little Rock (Pulaski County). John Kennedy was born on May 14, 1834, in County Cavan, Ireland. Immigrating to the United States, he enlisted in the Second U.S. Artillery, Battery M, on December 16, 1857, at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, committing to a five-year term of service. Kennedy had served during the 1858 Utah Expedition before the Civil War began and was involved in many actions with Battery M in the Eastern Theater during the Civil War. Kennedy and the Second …

Kennedy, Jon

Jon Kennedy served as a political cartoonist for the Arkansas Democrat from 1941 to 1943 and again from 1946 to 1988, totaling nearly fifty years, one of the longest employments with a single newspaper in the nation. Kennedy was Arkansas’s first full-time professional newspaper artist, and his cartoons highlighted Arkansas and world topics, won numerous awards, and were featured in national newspapers including the New York Times. Jon Kennedy was born on August 19, 1918, in Springfield, Missouri, to Brownlow Kennedy, who was a telegraph operator for the railroad, and Ida Kennedy, who was a homemaker. At age seventeen, and while still in high school, he began working as an artist for the Springfield Leader Press, where he was employed …

Kessinger, Donald Euleon (Don)

Donald Eulon Kessinger played major league baseball for sixteen years in the 1960s and 1970s, mostly for the Chicago Cubs. He is also the only Arkansan to have both played in and managed in the major leagues, leading the Chicago White Sox for more than half a season in 1979. Don Kessinger was born in Forrest City (St. Francis County) on July 17, 1942, one of three children of Howard and Ida Kessinger. His father owned and operated Kessinger’s Grocery in Forrest City, and his mother owned a women’s clothing store called Kessinger’s. As a high school athlete in Forrest City, he excelled in four sports: baseball, basketball (in which he earned all-state honors three years), football (in which he …

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 …

Kilgore, Andrew

Andrew Wilson Kilgore is a Fayetteville (Washington County) photographer best known for his arresting black-and-white portraits, primarily of fellow Arkansans set against a plain backdrop. By his own estimation, Kilgore photographed more than 30,000 people in Arkansas between early 1971 and late 2011. Andrew Kilgore was born on November 2, 1940, in Charlottesville, Virginia. He was the second of three children born to Bill and Carolyn Kilgore, both natives of Washington DC. Kilgore’s family moved several times when he was a child, first relocating to the Chicago, Illinois, suburb of Aurora shortly after World War II and then to El Paso, Texas, in 1956. Kilgore cites his time as a teenager along the Texas border as the period of his …

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 and Benton counties). Both his parents were members of pioneer families of the county and …