Streetcar to Justice: How Elizabeth Jennings Won the Right to Ride in New York

Streetcar to Justice: How Elizabeth Jennings Won the Right to Ride in New York

by Amy Hill Hearth

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Overview

Starred reviews hail Streetcar to Justice as "a book that belongs in any civil rights library collection" (Publishers Weekly) and "completely fascinating and unique” (Kirkus). 

An ALA Notable Book

Bestselling author and journalist Amy Hill Hearth uncovers the story of a little-known figure in U.S. history in this fascinating biography.

In 1854, a young African American woman named Elizabeth Jennings won a major victory against a New York City streetcar company, a first step in the process of desegregating public transportation in Manhattan.

This illuminating and important piece of the history of the fight for equal rights, illustrated with photographs and archival material from the period, will engage fans of Phillip Hoose’s Claudette Colvin and Steve Sheinkin’s Most Dangerous.

One hundred years before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, Elizabeth Jennings’s refusal to leave a segregated streetcar in the Five Points neighborhood of Manhattan set into motion a major court case in New York City.

On her way to church one day in July 1854, Elizabeth Jennings was refused a seat on a streetcar. When she took her seat anyway, she was bodily removed by the conductor and a nearby police officer and returned home bruised and injured. With the support of her family, the African American abolitionist community of New York, and Frederick Douglass, Elizabeth Jennings took her case to court. Represented by a young lawyer named Chester A. Arthur (a future president of the United States) she was victorious, marking a major victory in the fight to desegregate New York City’s public transportation.

Amy Hill Hearth, bestselling author of Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years, illuminates a lesser-known benchmark in the struggle for equality in the United States, while painting a vivid picture of the diverse Five Points neighborhood of Manhattan in the mid-1800s.

Includes sidebars, extensive illustrative material, notes, and an index.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062675934
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 01/02/2018
Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 160
File size: 25 MB
Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

Table of Contents

Three Notes about Language 1

Part I A Day like No Other 3

1 "Those Monsters in Human Form" 5

The First New Yorkers 12

2 Stray Dogs and Pickpockets 15

Slavery in the North 22

Timeline: The End of Slavery in Northern States 24

3 A City Divided by Race 27

What Was Jim Crow? 31

4 "I Screamed Murder with All My Voice" 35

5 "You Will Sweat for This!" 37

6 An Admired Family 39

Frederick Douglass and the Black Press 44

Who Should Go to School? 46

7 A "Shameful" and "Loathsome" Issue 49

Trying to Make a Difference 55

William Lloyd Garrison and The Liberator 56

Horace Greeley and the New York Daily Tribune 57

8 A Future U.S. President 59

The Fugitive Slave Act 60

Chester A. Arthur: His Early Years 62

9 Elizabeth Jennings v. Third Avenue Railroad Company 65

Getting to Brooklyn 68

10 The Jury's Decision 71

Part II A Forgotten Hero 77

11 An Uncanny Similarity to Rosa Parks 79

12 What Happened to Elizabeth Jennings? 85

The Civil War Draft Riots 86

The First Free Kindergarten for Colored Children in New York City 88

13 How a Creepy Old House Led to the Writing of This Book 91

14 Retracing Her Footsteps 95

Postscript: Chester A. Arthur: Tragedy Leads to Presidency 101

Bibliography 105

Notes 113

Author's Note about Elizabeth Jennings's Age in 1854 121

Suggested Reading 123

Elizabeth Jennings's Life within a Historical Timeline 124

Important Locations 127

Acknowledgments 129

Illustrations 133

Index 137

About the Author 143

Customer Reviews

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Streetcar to Justice: How Elizabeth Jennings Won the Right to Ride in New York 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An intense page turner of one brave lady’s terrible experience and triumph in early New York City! A fine tribute to an almost forgotten heroine of justice!
YvetteS More than 1 year ago
Amy Hill Hearth brings to life this little-known story of a fascinating, historical figure. The tale of how Elizabeth Jennings stood firm against racial injustice and discrimination takes place one hundred years before Rosa Parks and the civil rights movement. Hearth includes much of her research via comprehensive notes and references. This book is a must-have for anyone, young or old, who is interested in the origins of civil rights in America.