Lizzie Demands a Seat! Elizabeth Jennings Fights for Streetcar Rights
On July 16, 1854, “Lizzie Jennings was in a hurry. A big hurry. The kind of hurry she couldn’t hold back.” When a New York streetcar conductor tries to stop her from entering a car reserved for whites, she protests. “Despite being born a ‘free black’ in a ‘free state,’ she’d never been treated as equal... Suddenly, late-for-church wasn’t as important as late-for-equality.” When Jennings is thrown off the streetcar, shown in a dramatic spread, a white witness steps forward, and Jennings decides to take her case to court—a risk: “if she failed to win, she could make it worse.” But, supported by her community, she does win, notching the first victory in what would become a 100-year-long battle to end segregation on public transportation. Shimmering jewel-toned watercolors blur and delineate details in Lewis’s paintings. Includes an author’s note, bibliography, and reading suggestions. Ages 7–10. (Jan.)
Correction: A previous version of this review misstated the protagonist's last name.