One hundred years before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, a black schoolteacher named Elizabeth Jennings was violently removed from a segregated streetcar in Manhattan, setting into motion a major civil rights court case in New York City.

The story, famous in its day, was all-but-forgotten until HarperCollins published a new book, Streetcar to Justice: How Elizabeth Jennings Won the Right to Ride in New York.

The author of the book, Peabody Award-winning journalist Amy Hill Hearth, researched the topic for more than twenty years. Hearth wrote the book, which is the first biography of Elizabeth Jennings, for a broad audience of readers from middle-grade to adult.

The incident occurred on the afternoon of July 16, 1854.  “I screamed murder with all my voice,” Miss Jennings wrote in a letter that was published by the New-York Daily Tribune.

With the support of her family, the black community of New York, and leaders including Frederick Douglass, Elizabeth Jennings took her case to court. Represented by a young lawyer named Chester A. Arthur (the future president of the United States) she was victorious, marking the first significant step in the fight to desegregate New York City’s public transportation.

The book is available on Amazon.

About the Author:

Amy Hill HearthAmy Hill Hearth (pronounced HARTH) is a Peabody Award-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author. Her topics include women’s history, forgotten stories, and elder wisdom. Her tenth book, STREETCAR TO JUSTICE: HOW ELIZABETH JENNINGS WON THE RIGHT TO RIDE IN NEW YORK, is the first biography of Elizabeth Jennings, the Rosa Parks of Old New York. Published January 2, 2018 by Greenwillow/HarperCollins, STREETCAR TO JUSTICE is suitable for Middle-grade to Adult readers. Ms. Hearth’s earlier books include HAVING OUR SAY: THE DELANY SISTERS’ FIRST 100 YEARS, a New York Times bestseller for more than two years that was adapted for Broadway and for an award-winning film. HAVING OUR SAY, called a classic oral history by Newsweek magazine, is the story of two centenarian sisters whose father was born into slavery. Hearth’s other nonfiction books include the story of a pair of married Holocaust survivors who masqueraded as Christians and worked for the Underground during World War II, and a rare oral history of a female Native American Elder whose name was ‘Strong Medicine.’ Ms. Hearth is also the author of two historical novels published by Atria Books/Simon & Schuster: MISS DREAMSVILLE AND THE COLLIER COUNTY WOMEN’S LITERARY SOCIETY (2012) and MISS DREAMSVILLE AND THE LOST HEIRESS OF COLLIER COUNTY (2015). The novels explore the tensions of life in a small, sleepy town in Florida in the early 1960s.