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EPOL: Candidate Research Presentation Dr. Kimberly C. Ransom

Education Room 192

Event Type: Other

Speaker Information: Dr. Kimberly C. Ransom

Zoom Link Available

There are Children Here: Making Black Childhood Visible in the History of Education

Historians have often shown that the historical vantage points and perspectives of African Americans – including Black children – have been silenced or erased from archives, museums, and public spaces. These silences can limit our understanding of African Americans' knowledge, perspectives, and contributions to the history of education in the U.S. Hence, it is important to address these silences by conducting research that foregrounds the historical voices and perspectives of African American schoolchildren in the past. 

In this talk, Dr. Kimberly Ransom will discuss her work as an interdisciplinary critical historian who is committed to unsilencing voices and perspectives of African American children in the history of education through research and historical action. Specifically, Dr. Ransom’s current work examines and curates the lived childhood experiences of students who once attended Rosenwald Schools in her ancestral home of Pickens County, Alabama. She has worked alongside her research participants to create a local museum where these histories are now exhibited and used as catalysts for more equitable public education and dialogue across diverse constituencies. 

Dr. Ransom’s talk invites the audience to consider the potential role of scholars in addressing racial injustice through community-based historical inquiry (CBHI). CBHI privileges data rooted in community memory and personal collections along with archival data. She will discuss methodological approaches to CBHI and its potential to support community archival and public history efforts that center previously untold stories of their educational pasts.  

At a time when communities are interrogating and demolishing monuments that commemorate histories of racial abuse and oppression, this talk will highlight how historians and communities can collect and examine local memory and personal collections to shape new monuments that commemorate the historical ideas, knowledges, humanity, voices, and perspectives of African Americans educational experiences.  

About Dr. Ransom:

Kimberly C. Ransom, Ph.D. is an interdisciplinary historian whose curiosities sit at the intersection of the History of African American Education and the History of Childhood. She employs ethnohistorical methodology to examine Black childhood in and around schools in the past. Her dissertation study examines the oral histories and material objects of Black children who once attended segregated schools in the Deep South during the Jim Crow Era (1940-1969). As a public scholar and artist, Kimberly also uses her historical research to create public exhibits related to African American childhood in and around schools. In her most recent project, she worked in partnership with her dissertation respondents to create a local museum in the sole remaining Rosenwald Schoolhouse in Pickens County, Alabama.

Kimberly has received a number of fellowships and awards for her research and leadership, including the 2019 NAEd Spencer Fellowship, the 2018 Rackham Public Scholarship Fellowship, the 2017 Rackham Public Scholarship Grant, the 2015 Jackson Scholar Award, the 2011 Chicago Community Trust Fellowship, the 2013 University of Chicago President’s Diversity Leadership Award, and the 2010 New York University Women of Color Policy Fellowship. She earned her Ph.D. in Educational Studies from the University of Michigan, her M.A. from DePaul University, her B.S. from Bradley University, and a Graduate Certificate in Museum Studies from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Prior to beginning her doctoral studies, Kimberly was the founding executive director of the University of Chicago Collegiate Scholars Program, a three-year enrichment program committed to preparing Chicago Public Schools students for admission and success at elite colleges across the nation. Today the Program has nearly 1000 alumni attending elite universities across the nation, and nearly one-third have attended the University of Chicago. Kimberly has served on several boards that are committed to the advancement of youth of color, including, The Young People’s Project (Boston, MA).