Leon Bates

Leon Bates

Doctoral Student


313-577-6987 (fax)


Curriculum vitae

Leon Bates

Leon is a third-year Ph.D. Student in the Department of History at Wayne State, specializing in U.S. history 1877 to the present (Reconstruction to the Second World War), with a focus on late 19th and early 20th-century urban history. His research interest is the urban environment, e.g., housing, education, labor, criminal justice, violence, police violence, and the intersection of race.

Much of Leon’s research interests spawn from his life experiences with the U.S. military as an Army and National Guard NCO and Officer. Additionally, his 20-plus years as a licensed master electrician, commercial/industrial electrician, and controls technician, most of that time with IBEW, which gives him a unique perspective on U.S. labor history/issues as well as the built environment.

Research interest(s)/area of expertise

  • U.S. History--Gilded Age and the Progressive Era

    Urban History, e.g., housing, labor, medicine, policing, violence, police violence, and the intersection of race

    Archival Administration


 WSU Ph.D. student wins approval for historical marker honoring African American medical pioneer


Historical Marker, State of Indiana, Lt. Col. Joseph H. Ward, M.D.

During the First World War, Dr. Ward became the first African American to command a U.S. Army field hospital. From 1924 to 1936, Dr. Ward was the chief administrator and chief medical officer of Veterans Hospital #91, a 600-bed facility, at Tuskegee, Alabama, at the time it was the only veterans hospits in the nation that was open to black veterans.

 Lasher, Ben. “Historical marker commemorates African American medical pioneer” Indianapolis Recorder August 22, 2019. http://www.indianapolisrecorder.com/news/article_26da46d0-c4ec-11e9-955e-afdde0d3f146.html

Interview by Bret Kast, CBS-4 “Grad student obtains Indiana Historical Marker for accomplished African American doctor.” August 16, 2019. https://cbs4indy.com/2019/08/17/grad-student-obtains-indiana-historical-marker-for-accomplished-african-american-doctor/



  • B.A., History / Africana Studies, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, 2013
  • M.A., Pan African Studies, University of Louisville, 2016

Awards and grants

  • 2011 - 2012 Theodore H. Thelander award, Department of History, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis

    2014 - 2016 Graduate Fellowship, Department of Pan African Studies, University of Louisville

    2016 - 2019 Mathur Fellowship, Graduate School, Wayne State University

Selected publications

Leon E. Bates, "Fugitive Slave Act: John Freeman's Journey to the Borderlands," Borderlands Stories (March 2018), accessed January 15, 2019, scholar.uwindsor.ca/borderlandstories/2018/march30/4/