1968 Horatio Alger Award Winner
"I was dedicated to my family and my goals, and because this is America I was a success."
Kenneth King started working at age 10, delivering shoes for a merchant in his hometown of Rocky Mount, North Carolina. At 14, his father's death forced him to drop out of high school to help support his mother, four brothers, sister, and aunt. He held a succession of jobs ranging from soda fountain clerk to construction helper. Despite his low wages, he managed to attend part-time classes at Campbell Junior College in North Carolina. In 1932, he worked at a restaurant and learned to cook. From 1933 to 1944 he worked for as little as $13 a week and as many as 12 hours per day, seven days a week. Finally, in 1944, he started his first restaurant. In 20 years, the chain grew to 18 units in northern Ohio, earning in excess of $5.5 million a year. He headed five corporations, four in the restaurant field and one in franchising.* Deceased