Kennedy, William Jesse, 1889-1985

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William Jesse Kennedy Jr., businessman, author, and community leader, was born in Andersonville, Ga. He began his affiliation with North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company in 1916 in Savannah, Ga. He later relocated to Durham, N.C., and, in 1952, was elected the fifth president of the company.

From the description of William Jesse Kennedy papers, 1902-1982. WorldCat record id: 39559225

William Jesse Kennedy Jr., was born in Andersonville, Ga., on 15 June 1889, the son of William Jesse and Katie C. Riley Kennedy. He was educated at Americus Institute in his native state. Later, he studied business administration in Columbia University's Extension Course.

Kennedy worked for Guaranty Life Insurance Company in Savannah, Ga., 1913-1916. He began his career with North Carolina Mutual while in Savannah, where he held the position of district manager. He married Margaret Mag Spaulding, sister of North Carolina Mutual president C. C. Spaulding, and relocated to Durham, N.C., where he was office manager/assistant secretary. On 2 August 1952, following the death of C. C. Spaulding, Kennedy was elected the fifth president of the company.

During his lifetime, Kennedy participated in numerous professional and civic activities in addition to his duties as chair of the board of directors at North Carolina Mutual. He served as president of Bankers Fire and Casualty Insurance Company, vice president of Mutual Savings and Loan Association, chair of the board of directors at Mechanics and Farmers Bank, and as a member of the Howard University Board of Trustees. He was a life-long proponent of education and a member of the James E. Shepard Foundation, an organization that awarded scholarships to deserving students attending North Carolina Central University. His other activities included affiliations with the 4-H Club Foundation of North Carolina, the North Carolina Recreation Commission (1945-1956), the American Teachers Association, the Durham Business and Professional Chain, the Boys Clubs of America, and the United Negro College Fund. He maintained an interest in industrial development and was one of the few African Americans active with the Durham Committee of 100, which helped develop Research Triangle Park. As a member of the WTVD Advisory Board, Kennedy helped bring television to Durham in the early 1950s.

In addition to his business-related activities, Kennedy served as Sunday school teacher, treasurer, and trustee at the White Rock Baptist Church. He and his wife had three children: Margaret K. Goodwin (1918- ), Charlotte K. Sloan (1920- ), and William Jesse Kennedy III (1922- ). Kennedy died in Durham on 8 July 1985, at the age of 96.

From the guide to the William Jesse Kennedy Papers, 1902-1982, (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company (Durham, N.C.). North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company Archives, 1850-2008 and undated. Duke University Libraries, Duke University Library; Perkins Library
creatorOf Kennedy, William Jesse, 1889-1985. William Jesse Kennedy papers, 1902-1982. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
creatorOf William Jesse Kennedy Papers, 1902-1982 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection
referencedIn William Jesse Kennedy Papers, 1902-1982 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
correspondedWith 4-H Club corporateBody
associatedWith Alex M. Rivera person
associatedWith Allen Lucious Goodloe person
associatedWith American Teachers Association corporateBody
associatedWith American Tennis Association corporateBody
associatedWith Association of Governing Boards of State Universities and Allied Institutions corporateBody
associatedWith Avery, John Moses, 1876-1931. person
associatedWith Bankers Fire & Casualty Insurance Company corporateBody
correspondedWith Bankers Fire Insurance Company corporateBody
associatedWith Besssie McLaurin person
associatedWith Boys Club of America corporateBody
associatedWith Boys' Clubs of America. corporateBody
associatedWith Boy Scouts of America. corporateBody
associatedWith Carl Hodges person
associatedWith Carter Cue person
associatedWith C. C. Spaulding person
associatedWith Charlotte Hawkins Brown person
associatedWith Charlotte K. Sloan person
correspondedWith Citizens Committee on Bond Issues corporateBody
associatedWith Clay, Mary K. person
associatedWith District of Columbia Chamber of Commerce corporateBody
associatedWith Durham Business and Professional Chain corporateBody
associatedWith Durham Committee of 100. corporateBody
associatedWith Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People corporateBody
associatedWith Durham Fact Finding Committee corporateBody
associatedWith Durham Industrial Development Company, Inc. corporateBody
associatedWith Durham United Fund corporateBody
associatedWith Fisher, Miles Mark person
associatedWith Fultz family
associatedWith Goodloe, Allen Lucious person
associatedWith Hillside High School corporateBody
correspondedWith Holly Knoll Associates corporateBody
associatedWith Hubert Humphrey person
associatedWith Johnnie B. McLester person
associatedWith Jordan, Willis person
associatedWith Joseph Lawrence person
associatedWith Joseph Mitchell person
associatedWith Kennedy, William Jesse, 1889-1985 person
associatedWith Kennedy, William Jr. person
associatedWith Kittrell College corporateBody
associatedWith Lambda Enterprises corporateBody
associatedWith Lenzie G. Barnes person
associatedWith Lincoln Apartment Foundation corporateBody
correspondedWith Lincoln Hospital corporateBody
associatedWith Lincoln Hospital (Durham, N.C.) corporateBody
associatedWith Margaret H. Turner person
associatedWith Margaret K. Goodwin person
associatedWith Mechanics & Farmers Bank corporateBody
associatedWith Merrick-Moore Park Association corporateBody
associatedWith Minority Community Resources Conference corporateBody
associatedWith Mutual Savings and Loan Association corporateBody
associatedWith NAACP corporateBody
associatedWith Nathaniel White, Sr. person
associatedWith National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. corporateBody
associatedWith National Insurance Association corporateBody
associatedWith National Negro Business League corporateBody
correspondedWith National Negro Finance Company corporateBody
correspondedWith National Urban League corporateBody
correspondedWith National White House Conference on Education corporateBody
associatedWith North Carolina Board of Higher Education. corporateBody
associatedWith North Carolina Central University corporateBody
associatedWith North Carolina College at Durham corporateBody
associatedWith North Carolina College for Negroes corporateBody
associatedWith North Carolina Conference for Social Service corporateBody
associatedWith North Carolina Council on Human Relations corporateBody
associatedWith North Carolina Mutual corporateBody
associatedWith North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company. corporateBody
associatedWith North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company (Durham, N.C.) corporateBody
correspondedWith North Carolina Recreation Commission corporateBody
associatedWith North Carolina Recreation Society, Inc. corporateBody
associatedWith North Carolina Teachers Association corporateBody
associatedWith Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company corporateBody
associatedWith Recreation for the Aging in North Carolina corporateBody
associatedWith Research Triangle Park corporateBody
associatedWith R. Kelly Bryant person
associatedWith Sanford, Terry person
associatedWith Scarborough Nursery School, Inc. corporateBody
associatedWith Shaw University corporateBody
associatedWith Small Business Development Center corporateBody
associatedWith Southern Regional Conference on Education Beyond the High School corporateBody
associatedWith St. Joseph's A.M.E. Church corporateBody
associatedWith United Durham Incorporated corporateBody
associatedWith United Negro College Fund corporateBody
associatedWith United Organizations for Community Improvement corporateBody
associatedWith University of North Carolina at Greensboro corporateBody
associatedWith White Rock Baptist Church corporateBody
associatedWith White Rock Baptist Church (Durham, N.C.) corporateBody
associatedWith William J. Kennedy III person
correspondedWith Women-in-Action for the Prevention of Violence and Its Causes, Inc. corporateBody
associatedWith WRAL TV corporateBody
associatedWith WTVD Management Advisory Council corporateBody
associatedWith YMCA corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
North Carolina
Research Triangle Park (N.C.)
Durham (N.C.)
North Carolina--Durham
African American business enterprises
African American businesspeople
African American civic leaders
African Americans
African Americans
African Americans
African Americans
African Americans
Civic leaders
Civil rights
Insurance companies, American
4-H Clubs


Birth 1889

Death 1985



Ark ID: w62n6hcd

SNAC ID: 19539577