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Lizzie Demands a Seat!: Elizabeth Jennings Fights for Streetcar Rights



by
Beth Anderson
illustrated by
E. B. Lewis

Edition
Hardcover edition
Publisher
Boyds Mills & Kane Press
Imprint
Calkins Creek
ISBN
9781629799391
POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Discrimination: Reference/Discussion, Discrimination: Racial Insensitivity/Racism
$10.80   $9.00
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One hundred years before Rosa Parks took her stand, Elizabeth "Lizzie" Jennings tried to board a streetcar in New York City on her way to church. Though there were plenty of empty seats, she was denied entry, assaulted, and threatened all because of her race—even though New York was a free state at that time. Lizzie decided to fight back. She told her story, took her case to court—where future president Chester Arthur represented her—and won! Her victory was the first recorded in the fight for equal rights on public transportation, and Lizzie's case set a precedent. Author Beth Anderson and acclaimed illustrator E. B. Lewis bring this inspiring, little-known story to life in this captivating nonfiction book.

Author’s note. Research note. Bibliography. Illustrator’s note. Full-color watercolor illustrations. Black-and-white historical photographs.

POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Discrimination: Reference/Discussion, Discrimination: Racial Insensitivity/Racism

Details

Format

Print

Page Count

32

Trim Size

8 1/2" x 11"

Dewey

B

AR

3.7: points 0.5

Lexile

AD570L

Genre

Nonfic

Scholastic Reading Counts

0

JLG Release

Feb 2020

Book Genres

Narrative Nonfiction, Picture Books for Older Readers

Topics

Elizabeth “Lizzie” Jennings (1827–1901). New York City. Streetcars. Public transportation. Civil rights. Equality. Prejudice. Racism. Court cases. Chester Arthur (1829–1886).

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Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Booklist*, Publishers Weekly*, Kirkus Reviews*, School Library Journal*

School Library Journal

In 1854, when Lizzie Jennings was forced off a traditionally “whites only” streetcar, she went to court, winning the right for all black passengers to ride in the same car with white people on the Third Avenue Railroad in New York City. Anderson’s account of Jennings’s early civil rights triumph stresses the teacher and choir director’s determination. An afterword explains how this free, educated, and wealthy black woman was uniquely positioned to succeed where an earlier court case had failed, and how the fight continued for 10 more years before all New York street car companies stopped having separate cars for black and white passengers. Set on spreads with full-bleed illustrations, the storytelling is straightforward and direct. Dialogue closely follows contemporary newspaper accounts to enliven the historical moment. The well-chosen language—“She’d been rejected, restricted, and refused by schools, restaurants, and theaters”—is a pleasure to read aloud. Departing from the somber palette he used for Jabari Asim’s Preaching to the Chickens, Lewis employs pastel colors, shades of blues, pinks, and purples, and plenty of background yellow to portray the characters and their surroundings. This lightens the story and supports its positive outcome. Shadowy background figures remind careful readers of the larger community that supported Jennings and were affected. Pair with Nikki Giovanni’s Rosa Parks for a reminder of how long this struggle continued. An important story beautifully told.

School Library Journal

Gr 1-3-In 1854, when Lizzie Jennings was forced off a traditionally "whites only" streetcar, she went to court, winning the right for all black passengers to ride in the same car with white people on the Third Avenue Railroad in New York City. Anderson's account of Jennings's early civil rights triumph stresses the teacher and choir director's determination. An afterword explains how this free, educated, and wealthy black woman was uniquely positioned to succeed where an earlier court case had failed, and how the fight continued for 10 more years before all New York street car companies stopped having separate cars for black and white passengers. Set on spreads with full-bleed illustrations, the storytelling is straightforward and direct. Dialogue closely follows contemporary newspaper accounts to enliven the historical moment. The well-chosen language-"She'd been rejected, restricted, and refused by schools, restaurants, and theaters"-is a pleasure to read aloud. Departing from the somber palette he used for Jabari Asim's Preaching to the Chickens, Lewis employs pastel colors, shades of blues, pinks, and purples, and plenty of background yellow to portray the characters and their surroundings. This lightens the story and supports its positive outcome. Shadowy background figures remind careful readers of the larger community that supported Jennings and were affected. Pair with Nikki Giovanni's Rosa Parks for a reminder of how long this struggle continued. VERDICT An important story beautifully told.-Kathleen Isaacs, Children's Literature Specialist, Pasadena, MD ?(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

In 1854, when Lizzie Jennings was forced off a traditionally “whites only” streetcar, she went to court, winning the right for all black passengers to ride in the same car with white people on the Third Avenue Railroad in New York City. Anderson’s account of Jennings’s early civil rights triumph stresses the teacher and choir director’s determination. An afterword explains how this free, educated, and wealthy black woman was uniquely positioned to succeed where an earlier court case had failed, and how the fight continued for 10 more years before all New York street car companies stopped having separate cars for black and white passengers. Set on spreads with full-bleed illustrations, the storytelling is straightforward and direct. Dialogue closely follows contemporary newspaper accounts to enliven the historical moment. The well-chosen language—“She’d been rejected, restricted, and refused by schools, restaurants, and theaters”—is a pleasure to read aloud. Departing from the somber palette he used for Jabari Asim’s Preaching to the Chickens, Lewis employs pastel colors, shades of blues, pinks, and purples, and plenty of background yellow to portray the characters and their surroundings. This lightens the story and supports its positive outcome. Shadowy background figures remind careful readers of the larger community that supported Jennings and were affected. Pair with Nikki Giovanni’s Rosa Parks for a reminder of how long this struggle continued. An important story beautifully told.

School Library Journal

Gr 1-3-In 1854, when Lizzie Jennings was forced off a traditionally "whites only" streetcar, she went to court, winning the right for all black passengers to ride in the same car with white people on the Third Avenue Railroad in New York City. Anderson's account of Jennings's early civil rights triumph stresses the teacher and choir director's determination. An afterword explains how this free, educated, and wealthy black woman was uniquely positioned to succeed where an earlier court case had failed, and how the fight continued for 10 more years before all New York street car companies stopped having separate cars for black and white passengers. Set on spreads with full-bleed illustrations, the storytelling is straightforward and direct. Dialogue closely follows contemporary newspaper accounts to enliven the historical moment. The well-chosen language-"She'd been rejected, restricted, and refused by schools, restaurants, and theaters"-is a pleasure to read aloud. Departing from the somber palette he used for Jabari Asim's Preaching to the Chickens, Lewis employs pastel colors, shades of blues, pinks, and purples, and plenty of background yellow to portray the characters and their surroundings. This lightens the story and supports its positive outcome. Shadowy background figures remind careful readers of the larger community that supported Jennings and were affected. Pair with Nikki Giovanni's Rosa Parks for a reminder of how long this struggle continued. VERDICT An important story beautifully told.-Kathleen Isaacs, Children's Literature Specialist, Pasadena, MD ?(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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