Lizzie Demands a Seat: Elizabeth Jennings Fights for Streetcar Rights

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Way back on July 16, 1854, a respectable freeborn African American woman with fine clothes and proper manners tried to board a public streetcar — and was denied. Not because there weren’t enough seats, and not because the white patrons had complained (which, in that day, was their right); she was denied because the conductor, on a whim, decided he did not want her to ride. Now this young woman’s dander was up: she had just as much right to ride as anyone else, and with the help of friends, neighbors, and one courageous lawyer (future President Chester Arthur) she sets out to prove just that.

Lizzie Demands a Seat is an inspiring story of courage, righteous indignation, and fighting for the right to be seen as equal — and it happens long before heroine Rosa Parks took a stand by sitting down!

Author Beth Anderson’s lively prose is fast-paced, delightfully spry, and bubbling over with that familiar, irrepressible desire all humans have to be free at whatever cost. This, coupled with illustrator E. B. Lewis’ lovely watercolors, breathes new life into this almost-forgotten tale of courage. Readers will root for Lizzie until the very last page.

Enjoy!

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