Biography in Multum in Parvo

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Atwood, L. K. (Louis Kossuth), 1850-1929; African American lawyers; African American businesspeople


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Jackson, Miss.

It fills my heart with unutterable emotions of joy when it becomes my duty to portray, in a modest way, and to the present, to the oncoming generations, lives of men, though born in the dark days of slavery and rocked in a cradle of poverty and obscurity, are in every way, worthy of emulation on the part of those who come after them.

Such is the life of Louis Kossuth Atwood, of Jackson, Miss., who was born in the State of Alabama sixty-one years ago; just twelve years before the secession; the barbarism of the chain, and the savagery of the lash had brought about the great sectional conflict, war between the North and the South.

His mother, Mary Atwood, having been a slave, was not able to do what she so much desired to do, in the way of educating her son. But his mind, thirsting as it did, for that mental instruction, which changes men from the brute-creation and lifts them nearest God, like the conservation of energy, found a way out.

Backed up by an ambition adulterated with will-power and self-reliance, he started out to educate himself. Bending his efforts in this direction, he soon finished the course prescribed by local institutions, and matriculated at Lincoln University, Pa., where he graduated from a classical course, with honors leading his class of 1874.

He then embarked upon the sea of public life to battle against the waves of adversity and to grapple with men and things for whatever there was in life for him.

He first began as teacher in the public schools of his State, in which work he was ordinarily successful. His ambition for business, however, led him from the school-room to the mercantile field where it was not long before the change had proved the wisdom of his course.

In 1876, he was admitted to the bar to practice law in the State of Mississippi. Born, as he was, with the gift of gab, and being a quick and deep thinker, forceful and profoundly logical in arguments, as well as an erudite scholar, soon placed him in the front ranks of the lawyers of his State. In 1879 and 1884 he was elected to the Legislature of his State and made for himself a state-wide reputation as an orator in an effort for an appropriation for Alcorn.

In 1883, he took up fraternal insurance, having become chief manager of an order known as the “Jakes.” Under his administration from its beginning until the present, this order has been managed more successfully and with less friction than any order in the State, and has handled and paid out more than $730,000.00 to the widows and orphans of the State.

In 1904 he organized the American Trust and Saving Bank, Jackson, Miss., and served as president two years. He then resigned and organized the Southern Bank of Jackson, Miss., of which he is now the president.

In 1910, he organized the Union Guaranty and Insurance Co., of Miss., and it is meeting with great success.

When asked by the writer “To what did he attribute his success?” He answered by saying: “To effort.” The writer then asked him this: “Does every person succeed who makes the effort?” His reply was: “Yes, if he makes the proper kind of effort.”

The only knowledge of Mr. Atwood’s wealth we have been able to get from him is that he pays taxes on $65,000.00 worth of property. The public’s estimate of him is that he is worth more cash money than any colored man in the State.

In 1879, he was married to the beautiful and accomplished Miss Maggie B. Welborn the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Welborn, who has been all to him the word wife implies. To this happy union has been born the following children: Hyrticana B. Atwood, L. K. Atwood, Jr., Maggie I. Atwood, Welborn S. Atwood, William F. Atwood.

Mr. Atwood is a consistent member of the Presbyterian church and does much to aid the churches of his city irrespective of denomination.

When asked “To what agencies he attributed the uplift of the Negro race,” he replied: “Religion, education and industry in the order named.”





Crawford, Isaiah Wadsworth; Thompson, Patrick H., “Biography in Multum in Parvo,” Mississippi State University Libraries, accessed December 2, 2023,

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