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John and Gladys Noel Bates Collection

Identifier: ARL72

Content Description

Collection contains photographs, awards, newspaper clippings, audio and video recordings, scrapbooks and ephemera collected by and relating to the lives and accomplishments of John and Gladys Noel Bates.


  • 1893-2009

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.


All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from material in the collection should be discussed with the appropriate librarian or archivist. Permission for publication may be given on behalf of the Denver Public Library as the owner of the physical item. It is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained by the customer. The Library does not assume any responsibility for infringement of copyright or publication rights of the manuscript held by the writer, heirs, donors, or executors. Reproduction restrictions are decided on a case-by-case basis.

Biographical / Historical

Gladys Noel Bates (1920-2010) was an African-American civil rights pioneer and educator who filed a lawsuit in 1948 (Gladys Noel Bates v. the State of Mississippi) charging salary discrimination against black teachers and principals. Although her lawsuit was not successful, it brought enough attention to the issue of wage equality in education to begin to equalize salaries.

Born in Mississippi, Gladys Winnie Noel received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Tougaloo College and a Master of Arts degree from West Virginia University. She later attended University of Colorado and University of Denver. In 1938, Gladys married John M. Bates (1913–1995). They had two children, Kathryn Sue Bates (1939– ) and John Milton (“Bunky”) Bates, Jr. (1945–2005).

Prior to their marriage, John Bates, Sr. attended schools in Fairmont, West Virginia and graduated from West Virginia State College. He joined the coaching staff of Alcorn A&M in Alcorn, Mississippi in 1937. John and Gladys moved to Denver, Colorado in 1960 and began working for Denver Public Schools. In 1979, John earned his doctorate in education from the University of Colorado.

The Bates have received community recognition in the form of some of the most prestigious awards presented for community service. Dr. Bates was the only person to head both the North East Park Hill Civic Association and its successor organization, The Greater Park Hill Community, Inc. organization.

The John M. and Gladys N. Bates Award recognizes an individual contributions in the areas of human relations, multiculturalism and the field of education.

Dr. and Mrs. Bates have become nationally recognized and valued participants in community activities to enhance: educational opportunities, graffiti removal, gang interdiction, confronting drug abuse, encouraging strong interracial community relationships, creating jobs and economic opportunity, and mentoring emerging leaders of the community, they advocated using all of the community tools available.


21 Boxes (21 linear feet)

1 oversize box

2 Items (2 oversize objects)

1 Audiovisual box

1 oversize folios

1 oversize folder

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, Gladys Noel Bates, 2003-2004

Condition Description

All items are in good condition.


Catalog record based on preliminary inventory.

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Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Denver Public Library, Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library Repository

2401 Welton St.
Denver Colorado 80205