Kabria Baumgartner is a historian of African American life and culture in the nineteenth-century United States. She is the Dean's Associate Professor of History and Africana Studies at Northeastern University where she also serves as Associate Director of Public History.
She is the author of the award-winning book, In Pursuit of Knowledge: Black Women and Educational Activism in Antebellum America (New York University Press, 2019). It tells the stories of brave African American girls and women who fought to democratize private female seminaries and public high schools in the nineteenth-century Northeast. In Pursuit of Knowledge won four book prizes: the 2021 Outstanding Book Award from the American Educational Research Association; the 2021 American Educational Research Association Division F New Scholar's Book Award; the 2020 Mary Kelley Prize from the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic; and the 2020 Outstanding Book Award from the History of Education Society.
At Northeastern University, she teaches classes on African American history, the history of New England, and digital storytelling.
Professor Baumgartner has published eleven peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on Black Studies and student activism, African American education, and the abolition movement. Her article, “Love and Justice: African American Women, Education, and Protest in Antebellum New England,” in the Journal of Social History (2019) received honorable mention for the 2019 Distinguished Essay Prize from the History of Education Society.
Her research has been supported by the Spencer Foundation; the Library Company of Philadelphia; the American Antiquarian Society, where she is an elected member and a 2022-23 NEH Fellow; and the Peabody Essex Museum/Phillips Library. In 2016, Professor Baumgartner was selected as a Postdoctoral Fellow by the National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation.
In addition to her research and teaching, Professor Baumgartner is interested in U.S. higher education, race, equity, and justice. She offers workshops on the history of higher education in New England and the fight for educational justice in Massachusetts.
Before joining the faculty at Northeastern University, Professor Baumgartner taught at the University of New Hampshire, where she was named the 2019 Outstanding Assistant Professor. She also served as the inaugural Faculty Fellow for Equity and Inclusion in the College of Liberal Arts.
Professor Baumgartner has taught at both the College of Wooster and Amherst College. Prior to that, she earned a Ph.D. in African American Studies and a Certificate in Feminist Studies from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and a M.A. summa cum laude in African American Studies and B.A. cum laude in English from the University of California, Los Angeles. Professor Baumgartner also studied at the Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany, where she learned conversational German and received a Certificate in British Studies.