Essie Mott Lee was born in Atlanta, Georgia, and spent her childhood years in Nashville, Tennessee,
where she attended public school. She received her B.S. in business education from Tennessee State
University and her M.A. in the same subject from Columbia University. She taught at Southern
University, Texas Southern University, and Tennessee State University, and later taught in the Business
Education Department of Gavit Jr.-Sr. High School in Hammond, Indiana. She moved to Nashville,
She was a lover of animals, especially cats. The author's dream was to help keep alive the memory of Dr.
William Key, an ex-slave, and his unbelievable accomplishments for a man who lived on this earth over a
hundred years ago, and especially to keep the younger generation informed of his achievements in
During Mrs. Lee's illness, she resided in Goodlettsville, Tennessee, with her sister, Annie Mott Whitman,
until her departure from this life, November 20, 1998.
She is buried in Willowmount Cemetery, Shelbyville, Tennessee, where, ironically, the man she wrote
about is also buried.