Personal profile

Research Interests

Dr. Kimberly C. Ransom is an interdisciplinary historian who studies the History of African American Education and the History of Childhood. Her research 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 has worked in partnership with her dissertation respondents to create a local museum, the Historic Pickensville Rosenwald School Museum & Community Center, which is the sole remaining Rosenwald Schoolhouse in Pickens County, Alabama. Her scholarship seeks to illuminate the unique ways Black children have taken up childhood despite having been marginalized from childhood status in America, particularly in and around schools. Through her research and public-facing projects Kimberly also aims to demonstrate what can be learned from Black schoolchildren’s agency to imagine and influence the social and cultural world of schooling via their embodiments and articulations of childhood in the past. 

Honors & Awards

Kimberly has received several fellowships and awards for her research and leadership including the 2019 NAEd Spencer Fellowship, the 2019 Rackham Dissertation Fellowship, the 2018 Rackham Public Scholarship Fellowship, the 2017 Rackham Public Scholarship Grant, the 2015 Jackson Scholar Award, the 2013 University of Chicago President’s Diversity Leadership Award, the 2011 Chicago Community Trust Fellowship, and the 2010 New York University Women of Color Policy Fellowship. She earned her Ph.D. in Educational Studies from the University of Michigan, M.A. from DePaul University, and B.S. from Bradley University. 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 over 1000 alumni attending elite universities across the nation, nearly half 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 in Boston, MA. 


Dr. Ransom's work has been funded by the University of Michigan Public Scholarship Grant (2015), the University of Michigan Institute for Research on Women and Gender Grant (2015), the Black Belt Community Foundation Grant (2019 - 2022), and the National Trust for Historic Preservation Funds Grant (2023).

Education/Academic qualification

History of Education, Doctorate of Philosophy, Foundations, Policy and Leadership, University of Michigan

Award Date: Feb 9 2021


  • History of education
  • African American
  • Black Childhood
  • Ethnohistory
  • Oral History
  • Public History


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