Time Period: World War II through the Faubus Era (1941 - 1967) - Starting with K

Karlmark, Gloria Cecelia Ray

Gloria Cecelia Ray Karlmark made history as a member of the Little Rock Nine, the nine African-American students who desegregated Central High School in Little Rock (Pulaski County) in 1957. The world watched as they braved constant intimidation and threats from those who opposed desegregation of the formerly all-white high school. Gloria Ray was born on September 26, 1942, in Little Rock, one of the three children of Harvey C. and Julia Miller Ray. By the time Ray entered Central High, her father was retired from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, where he had founded the Arkansas Agricultural Extension Service for Negroes, and her mother was a sociologist working for the state of Arkansas. Ray was a fifteen-year-old student at …

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 …

Kettles in the Ozarks, The

The Kettles in the Ozarks (1956), directed by Charles Lamont, was the ninth in a series of ten comedies made by Universal International Pictures. The characters of Ma and Pa Kettle were introduced in supporting roles in The Egg and I (1947), starring Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray. Marjorie Main, as Ma Kettle, was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for The Egg and I, and the first feature starring the Kettles, Ma and Pa Kettle, followed in 1949. The Kettle series began after the years 1937–1945, which Anthony Harkins in his book Hillbilly identifies as the period of “the hillbilly stereotype at high tide.” During that time, Judy Canova and the Weaver Brothers and Elviry made films …

Kidd, Sue

Sue Kidd was a female baseball star who gained local fame for the athletic prowess she displayed while playing on and against all-male baseball teams in Van Buren County and surrounding areas. Glenna Sue Kidd was born in Choctaw (Van Buren County) on September 2, 1933, to William Marvin Kidd and Julia Duncan Kidd, local farmers and merchants, though her father also served as postmaster at Choctaw. She had five siblings. The original community of Choctaw was covered by water when Greers Ferry Lake was filled in the 1960s. That community is now referred to as “old Choctaw,” as opposed to the present community of “new Choctaw” located on state Highway 65. As a student at Clinton High School, Kidd …

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 …

Kinder, Ellis Raymond

Ellis Kinder was a major league baseball pitcher. A right-hander who spent most of his career with the Boston Red Sox, he followed an unusual path before finally reaching the major leagues at the age of thirty-one. Ellis Raymond Kinder was born on July 26, 1914, in Atkins (Pope County). He was the second son in the farming family of Ulysses and Iva Kinder. Beginning when he was about ten, Kinder picked cotton in the fields, and his formal education in the local public school went only through eighth grade. His early baseball playing was sporadic, primarily on the local sandlots, although he was good enough to play on the high school team when still in grade school. On March …

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, 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, 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 …

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 Malcolm 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 …

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. …