Polk, Leonidas Lafayette, 1837–92, American agrarian leader, b. Anson co., N.C. After studying agriculture at Davidson College, he managed a plantation in North Carolina, served with the Confederate army in the Civil War, and then returned to farming. He led in the North Carolina Granger movement after 1872 and helped bring about many state reforms, including the creation (1877) of the North Carolina department of agriculture and the founding (1887) of what today is the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State Univ. He became (1887) president of the National Farmers Alliance and played an important role in the formation (1891) of the Populist party.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.