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Leigh Soares


A PhD candidate in U.S. History, with a certificate in African American and Diaspora Studies, Leigh Soares studies black politics and institution building in the Reconstruction and Jim Crow eras. Her dissertation uses a wide range of archival evidence to examine how black leaders and their allies won and maintained support for public black higher education in the post-Civil War South. It explains how, during the onslaught of racial violence and disenfranchisement in the late nineteenth-century South, black men and women used public black colleges to retain limited access to political power and to train future leaders. Her work is currently being supported by a National Academy of Education/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship.

In addition to her passion for research, Leigh is committed to promoting excellent teaching in her discipline and serves as a Graduate Teaching Fellow. Prior to moving to Chicago, she received an AB (History) from Duke University and an MA (History) from the College of William and Mary.

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