Entries - 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 …

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 …

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 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, 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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …