Entries

Keeble, Sampson W.
This Nashville barber, businessman, and politician became the first African American elected to the Tennessee General Assembly. Keeble was born circa 1832 in Rutherford County to slave parents, Sampso... Continue Reading »
Kefauver, Carey Estes
U.S. Congressman and Senator Estes Kefauver was the Democratic vice-presidential nominee in 1956. Kefauver was born in Madisonville and received his education at the University of Tennessee (1924) and... Continue Reading »
Kelly v. Board of Education
This lawsuit filed by several African American families in 1955 to desegregate the Nashville public schools dramatically altered education patterns, and its various remedies continue to generate debat... Continue Reading »
Kenny, Catherine Talty
Catherine Talty Kenny, suffragist and political activist, was born in Chattanooga in 1874. She married John M. Kenny of Atlanta in 1899 and moved to Nashville, where her husband became president of th... Continue Reading »
Key, William
William Key, nineteenth-century veterinarian and horse trainer, was born a slave in Winchester and took the name of his owner, William Key, a Shelbyville planter and entrepreneur. As a child he demons... Continue Reading »
Killebrew, Joseph Buckner
New South advocate and first Tennessee Commissioner of Agriculture, Joseph B. Killebrew was born May 29, 1831, in Montgomery County, the son of Bryan Whitfield and Elizabeth Smith Ligon Killebrew. In ... Continue Reading »
King College
The Holston Presbytery founded King College in 1867 in Bristol and named the school for James King, an eighteenth-century settler in the region. Both the acreage and physical plant of the college have... Continue Reading »
King Jr., Martin Luther
Internationally acclaimed spokesman of the Civil Rights movement Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis on April 4, 1968. King was in Memphis in an attempt to raise a... Continue Reading »
Kingsport
Kingsport was the first economically diversified, professionally planned, and privately financed city in twentieth-century America. Neither an Appalachian hamlet nor a company town, Kingsport develope... Continue Reading »
Kingsport Press (Quebecor World, Inc.)
Kingsport Press was a powerful Tennessee presence in the publishing world for fifty years. The press was initially established in 1922 by Blair and Company, the New York bankers who financed the Clinc... Continue Reading »
Kinney, Belle
An important early twentieth-century sculptor, Belle Kinney graced Nashville with works at the War Memorial Building, the State Capitol, and the Parthenon. Born in Nashville in 1890, one of four child... Continue Reading »
Knights of Labor
Founded in 1869 by a group of Philadelphia tailors, the Noble and Holy Order of the Knights of Labor grew slowly as a secret organization under the leadership of Uriah Stephens. In 1879, when Terence ... Continue Reading »
Knox County
In 1786 James White built a fort five miles below the junction of the French Broad and Holston Rivers on the southernmost edge of frontier settlement in present-day East Tennessee. William Blount, gov... Continue Reading »
Knoxville
Founded as White's Fort in 1786, Knoxville served as the capital of the Territory South of the River Ohio (or Southwest Territory) and early capital of Tennessee and eventually grew to become the... Continue Reading »
Knoxville College
Immediately after the Civil War, scores of northern missionaries traveled south to educate the newly freed slaves. These missionary efforts resulted in the establishment of a number of black colleges ... Continue Reading »
Knoxville Gazette
The first newspaper in Tennessee was the Knoxville Gazette, printed initially at Rogersville, Hawkins County, on November 5, 1791. Its editor, printer, and publisher was George Roulstone (1767-1804), ... Continue Reading »
Knoxville Iron Company v. Harbison
In the case of Knoxville Iron Company v. Harbison (183 U.S. 13) the U.S. Supreme Court upheld an 1899 Tennessee statute requiring cash redemption of store orders and other noncash payments to employee... Continue Reading »
Knoxville Journal
When the Knoxville Journal ceased operation in 1991, a Knoxville institution died. Although the paper's exact ancestry was sometimes in dispute, the Journal itself liked to claim that it was the ... Continue Reading »
Knoxville Museum of Art
Opened in 1961 as the Dulin Gallery of Art, the Knoxville Museum of Art was originally housed in an early twentieth-century neighborhood mansion designed by noted American architect John Russell Pope.... Continue Reading »
Knoxville News-Sentinel
Currently the only daily newspaper in Knoxville, the News-Sentinel began in December 1886 as the evening Sentinel published by John Travis Hearn, a native of Shelbyville, Kentucky. The first four-page... Continue Reading »
Knoxville Riot of 1919
The Knoxville riot took place on August 30-31, 1919. Although many historians question whether it was a "race riot" in the classic sense, it bore many characteristics of that phenomenon. The arrest o... Continue Reading »
Knoxville World's Fair of 1982
The Knoxville International Energy Exposition was held from May through October 1982 on a 67-acre area a few blocks west of the city's central business district. The idea of a world's fair i... Continue Reading »
Knoxville, Battle of
The eighteen-day siege of Knoxville from November 17 to December 4, 1863, stemmed from two interrelated causes. First, General Braxton Bragg, commander of the Army of Tennessee, desired to divert troo... Continue Reading »
Krystal Company
This Chattanooga-based hamburger chain was founded in 1932 by Rodolph B. Davenport Jr. and J. Glenn Sherrill. Loosely patterned after the successful midwestern White Castle hamburger chain which had b... Continue Reading »
Ku Klux Klan
The infamous Ku Klux Klan (KKK) was organized in May or early June of 1866 in a law office in Pulaski by six bored Confederate veterans (the "immortal six"). The Ku Klux Klan was, in its inception, a ... Continue Reading »
Labor
In its broadest context, "labor" refers to a very diverse set of conditions: slave and free labor; craft and industrial labor; farm and factory labor; and blue, pink, and white collar labor. Because t... Continue Reading »
Ladies' Hermitage Association
The Ladies' Hermitage Association was organized in 1889 to honor President Andrew Jackson by preserving his home, the Hermitage. Mrs. Andrew Jackson III and Mary C. Dorris suggested a women'... Continue Reading »
Lake County
Located in the northwest corner of Tennessee, Lake County is bounded by Kentucky on the north, Reelfoot Lake and Obion County on the east, the Mississippi River on the west, and Dyer County on the sou... Continue Reading »
Lambuth University
On December 2, 1843, the Memphis Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church received a charter from the Tennessee General Assembly authorizing the establishment of a young women's preparatory s... Continue Reading »
Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area
Congress established this federal recreation area located along the Tennessee-Kentucky border in northwest Middle Tennessee in 1964. Land Between the Lakes (LBL) is a 170,000-acre peninsula between th... Continue Reading »
Land Grants
After the Revolutionary War, North Carolina had little or no money in its treasury. Faced with accumulating debts to soldiers and military suppliers, the state began to grant or transfer its western l... Continue Reading »
Landmarkism
Landmarkism was a nineteenth-century Baptist movement arising in the South, west of the Appalachians, which asserted the sole validity and unbroken succession of Baptist churches from the New Testamen... Continue Reading »
Lane College
In 1882 Lane College, then the "C.M.E. High School," was founded by the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church (now Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, CME) in America. Initially Bishop Willia... Continue Reading »
Lane, Isaac
Fourth bishop of the Colored (Christian) Methodist Episcopal Church, Isaac Lane was born March 4, 1834, in Madison County. Lane grew to manhood as a slave on the plantation of Cullen Lane. At age nine... Continue Reading »
Langford, Laura Carter Holloway
Laura Carter Holloway Langford was born in Nashville in 1843. Her birth date is often given as 1848, but census records from 1860, 1870, and 1910, as well as various genealogical databases, confirm ... Continue Reading »
Lauderdale County
In November 1835 the Tennessee General Assembly established Lauderdale County from portions of Tipton, Dyer, and Haywood Counties. The county was named for Lieutenant Colonel James Lauderdale, who was... Continue Reading »
Lauderdale, William
A planter-soldier for whom Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is named, William Lauderdale was born in Virginia between 1780 and 1785, the son of a prominent Sumner County family. Lauderdale first served as a ... Continue Reading »
Law in Tennessee
The origins of law in Tennessee can be traced to a variety of sources, notably English common law and colonial North Carolina statutes. The 1796 constitution provided that all laws then in force shoul... Continue Reading »
Lawrence County
On October 21, 1817, the Tennessee General Assembly created Lawrence County from territory acquired by treaty with the Chickasaw Indians. A section of Hickman County and a small portion of Giles Count... Continue Reading »
Lawrence, William
This Nashville native rose to the navy's top ranks and received national honor after six years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam, during which time he wrote "Oh Tennessee, My Tennessee,&... Continue Reading »
Lawson Jr., James E.
James E. Lawson Jr. made a significant mark on the history of the Civil Rights movement in Tennessee and in the South. He is best known in Tennessee history as the Vanderbilt Divinity School student w... Continue Reading »
Lea, Albert Miller
Albert Miller Lea, a prominent chief engineer of the State of Tennessee, was born in Knoxville in 1805. Lea learned his engineering skills in the army. He entered West Point and graduated fifth in a c... Continue Reading »
Lea, Luke
A key figure in the reform and prohibition movements and a major player in the early twentieth-century Democratic Party, Luke Lea was prominent in Tennessee history during the early twentieth century.... Continue Reading »
League of Women Voters of Tennessee
This organization formed prior to the ratification of the Suffrage Amendment when thirty-five of the required thirty-six states had ratified the amendment. Tennessee suffragists attended the last nati... Continue Reading »
Lee University
On January 1, 1918, 12 students from four states met with Nora Chambers in an upstairs room of the Church of God Publishing House in Cleveland, Tennessee. This first class meeting of the Church of God... Continue Reading »
Lee, Brenda
Brenda Mae Tarpley, later known as Brenda Lee, was born in Atlanta's Emory University Hospital charity ward on December 11, 1944. By the age of three she was already showing a remarkable ability ... Continue Reading »
Lee, George Washington
Known on the streets of early twentieth-century Memphis as "Lieutenant Lee," both for his army service as a lieutenant in World War I and as the lieutenant for the powerful African American capitalist... Continue Reading »
Lemoyne Owen College
Memphis's Lemoyne Owen College opened its doors in 1871 as LeMoyne Normal and Commercial School, but it traces its ancestry to the schools for ex-slaves organized by members of the American Missi... Continue Reading »
Lenoir Car Works
Located on ninety-three acres along the Tennessee River in downtown Lenoir City, the Lenoir Car Works was once the largest and most important business in Loudon County. The earliest operation was the ... Continue Reading »
Lenoir Cotton Mill
The Lenoir Cotton Mill was one of a series of five mills built by the family of General William Lenoir along Town Creek in what is now Lenoir City. In 1810 Major William Ballard Lenoir, son of Revolut... Continue Reading »