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

Amy Hill Hearth. Greenwillow, $19.99 (144p) ISBN 978-0-06-267360-2
Hearth (The Delany Sisters Reach High) draws on her journalism roots to carefully piece together the story of a mostly forgotten figure in the struggle for racial equality in the United States. African-American schoolteacher Elizabeth Jennings vehemently fought back when she was refused streetcar service in 1854 Manhattan; her victorious court case against the streetcar company helped integrate public transportation in New York. Hearth grounds Jennings’s story in vivid sensory detail: “she would have walked around piles of horse manure and maybe even the bloated remains of a dead animal or two.” Fifteen chapters pack in contextualizing information, often in sidebars, educating readers on topics ranging from Jim Crow laws and de facto segregation in the north to Jennings’s contemporaries Frederick Douglass and Chester Arthur (Jennings’s lawyer and future U.S. president). Archival photos, newspaper clippings, and resources that include a timeline of Jennings’s life (she founded the first kindergarten for black children in New York City) augment a book that belongs in any civil rights library collection. Ages 8–12. Agent: Mel Berger, William Morris Endeavor. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/16/2017
Release date: 01/02/2018
Genre: Children's
Ebook - 144 pages - 978-0-06-267593-4
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