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Kabria Baumgartner

Dean’s Associate Professor of History and Africana Studies; Associate Director of Public History

Kabria Baumgartner is an award-winning historian of the nineteenth-century United States, specializing in African American women’s and gender history as well as the history of education. She is the author of In Pursuit of Knowledge: Black Women and Educational Activism in Antebellum America (New York University Press, 2019), which tells the story of Black girls and women who fought for their educational rights in the nineteenth-century United States. Her book has won four prizes, including the prestigious 2021 American Educational Research Association’s Outstanding Book Award.

She is the recipient of the 2024 Massachusetts Black Excellence on the Hill Award. She has received fellowships and grants from the Spencer Foundation, the National Academy of Education, the Massachusetts Historical Society, and the American Antiquarian Society where she is an elected honorary member. She serves as an associate editor of Global Black Thought and a series co-editor of the University of Massachusetts Press’ Black New England series.

Professor Baumgartner has published a dozen peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, and her public writing has been featured in the Washington Post, WBUR’s Cognoscenti, and Historic New England Magazine. Strongly committed to public history, she frequently collaborates with historical organizations such as the Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire on community-engaged histories. In 2022, she co-founded the Newburyport Black History Initiative, which aims to highlight Newburyport’s Black history. She co-curated an historical exhibit on the nineteenth-century youth-led equal school rights movement, “Let None Be Excluded,” at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts.

Her second book, On the Cusp: Black Youth and the Origins of Civil Rights in Boston (under contract with the University of North Carolina Press, expected 2025), explores Black youth activism and civil rights in nineteenth-century Boston.

  • National Endowment for the Humanities Long-Term Fellowship/American Antiquarian Society, 2022-23
  • Spencer Foundation Research Grant, 2021-23
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Long-Term Fellowship/Massachusetts Historical Society, 2020-21
  • National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2016-18
  • Library Company of Philadelphia/Mellon Program in African American History Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2014-15

“Full and Impartial Justice”: Robert Morris and the Equal School Rights Movement in Massachusetts,” New England Quarterly (2022) 95 (2): 155–191.

National Park Service/Organization of American Historians, Co-Principal Investigator – Historic Resource Study: “African Americans in Essex County, Massachusetts, 2018-22

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