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

4.53  ·  Rating details ·  60 ratings  ·  27 reviews
In 1854, Elizabeth "Lizzie" Jennings, an African American schoolteacher, fought back when she was unjustly denied entry to a New York City streetcar, sparking the beginnings of the long struggle to gain equal rights on public transportation.

One hundred years before Rosa Parks took her stand, Elizabeth "Lizzie" Jennings tried to board a streetcar in New York City on her way
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published January 7th 2020 by Calkins Creek
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Sandy Brehl
LIZZIE DEMANDS A SEAT also demands to be read.

As a twenty-four-year-old free Black woman in New York City in 1854, Lizzie Jennings was not good at waiting- for anything. The illustrations reveal what back matter later articulates: Lizzie was educated, came from a well-to-do family of abolitionist activists, and lived a full life with many community responsibilities. In the opening scene, she relied on the horse-drawn streetcar to reach her church in time to play the organ, tapping her heels
Vivian Kirkfield
Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Did you know that 100 years before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus in the south, a young woman sued the New York City streetcars because of segregation? When Elizabeth Jennings was thrown off a New York City streetcar because it was designated for 'whites' ...and Elizabeth was a woman of color, she picked herself up, dusted herself off...and sued!

This stirring narrative will put every kid right there...and the amazing illustrations help build the drama. A story every elementary
Kirsti Call
Dec 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: publisher
"Lizzie was in a hurry. A big hurry. The kind of hurry she couldn't hold back."

Beth Anderson deftly shows Elizabeth Jenning's inspirational story! This is the kind of book that will teach kids about discrimination, courage, and the power one person has to make a difference in the world.
Pippa Chorley
Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Lizzie Demands a Seat, written by Beth Anderson and illustrated by E.B. Lewis, is the story of an African American school teacher who fought back against a New York City streetcar company when she was refused the right to ride. Whilst this is a little-known story compared to the famous Rosa Parks, it is just as compelling and I couldn’t help but get swept up in the drama of Lizzie’s story right from the outset.

Having recently visited America and the Black African Museum in Washington DC, I feel
Cathy Ogren
Feb 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The year is 1854 and Elizabeth “Lizzie” Jennings, an African American woman living in New York City, is late for choir practice. She boards the first streetcar that comes along, but the conductor stops her and tells her to wait for another car coming “for your people.” Even though Lizzie is a respected school teacher, church organist, and born a “free black” in a “free state,” she has never been treated as an equal. Lizzie sees plenty of empty seats on the streetcar and no one is objecting to ...more
Rita Lorraine
Dec 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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, ...more
Christine Mcdonnell
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Demanding a seat on a streetcar designated for whites required courage, especially in 1854 in New York City. Forcibly ejected, Elizabeth Jennings was determined to fight this discrimination in court. Beth Anderson's concise and lively writing captures the tension and the suspense on the streetcar and the surprising events in the court room. Both scenes are filled with exciting detail.
Te jury decides in favor of Elizabeth Jennings, even awarding her compensation. This is the first recorded case
Jenna Grodzicki
Jan 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
When Elizabeth Jennings boarded that streetcar in 1854, she had no idea she was about to make history. She was a free African American woman, yet the conductor believed it was within his rights to grab her and throw her from the car. It was then Lizzie decided to fight back against injustice and inequality. Lizzie's bravery empowered others to speak up and fight for their rights on public transportation. Young readers will be inspired to find their voices and stand up for what they believe in ...more
Julie Abery
Dec 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Lizzie Demands a Seat! by Beth Anderson is the inspirational story of African-American, Elizabeth Jennings, who goes to court to fight for the right to board a streetcar in New York, after being refused a seat and thrown off by the conductor in 1854. Jennings won her case and very important step towards equal rights. Anderson captures this important story with lyrical language in a concise and clear fashion, allowing the reader a window into segregation and the equal rights struggle. The ...more
Jan 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Fascinating read about Elizabeth Jennings, a little-known hero in Black history whose courageous protest and legal battle in 1854 led to huge advances in desegregation of public transportation in New York City.

For my 6 year old, the text was a little dense, but he was very interested in the story and neither of us could predict for certainty what the outcome of her court case might be. The illustrations were excellent and added a lot to his understanding of the story.
Della Ferreri
Jan 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is an incredible story of courage, and the fight for equal rights by the lesser-known Eliziabeth Jennings! At 24 she demanded to ride the public streetcar, only to meet harsh opposition from the driver. What enfolds is a gripping story with beautiful illustrations that will have readers cheering for Lizzie every step of the way. A five star picture book recommended for every elementary library.
Jan 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a terrific and exciting narrative nonfiction picture book detailing how, in 1854, young African American schoolteacher Lizzie Jennings fought back after a New York City streetcar operator ejected her from a "white" car and told her to take a car marked for "her people." The incident and the resulting lawsuit are described well for young readers. This book will bring overdue attention to a brave woman and the activist community that supported her.
Dec 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
From the first page, you feel like you're right next to Lizzie as she faces inequality and racism in 1850s NYC, when segregation on public transportation was a custom and not the law. Her courtroom fight was historic and set a movement in motion--that echoes to today. Gorgeous watercolor illustrations, vivid writing. Loved this book!
I'd never heard of Lizzie or her story before. The story is clearly told, albeit in rather boring language. The images are mostly in a watercolor fashion with the background blurred out. I don't think the images did justice to the story.

Overall, a story that more people should be familiar with, but the book isn't anything special.
Cathy Mealey
Dec 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Confronting racism and inequality, Lizzie is an inspirational heroine for young readers to discover in this lushly illustrated tale from 1850's New York City. Challenging segregation on public transportation and asserting her rights in the courtroom, Lizzie's story as told by Beth Anderson is compelling and vivid. Don't miss this one!
Laurie Wallmark
Dec 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book tells the story of an unsung hero of the civil rights movement. Long before Rosa Oarks, Elizabeth Jennings, an African American, sued and won the right to ride on any streetcar on that line, nit just the ones for “colored.” The story of her courage will encourage children to stand up for what they believe is right.
Keila Dawson
Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Long before the modern day Civil Rights era there were people like Elizabeth Jennings who fought for equality and against bigotry. Anderson tells a compelling narrative that takes readers back to 1854 on the day that Lizzie Jennings fought for the respect she deserved and her fight for justice.
Sandra Sutter
Jan 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One moment. One decision. That's all it took for Elizabeth "Lizzie" Jennings to change the course of history. This is a well-written account of Lizzie's decision to stand up for herself and argue for her rights in a court of law. Beautiful, soft illustrations complement the text.
Kataneh Vahdani
Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a powerful and inspiring who can be truly motivating. This book managed to capture the story of Elizabeth Jennings in a simple but beautiful way. The watercolor illustrations really elevate the story and the focal point is very clear. I highly recommend this book.
Mary Kate
Feb 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A great book that relayed a story I’ve never heard before! I liked that references were included, too.
Feb 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was unaware of Lizzie Jennings' groundbreaking victory. I'm so glad I got the ARC for this book -- in tine for Black History Month and Women's History Month.
Heidi Doyle
Jan 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a great story of a strong woman standing up for herself and against injustice.
Lauren Kerstein
From the front cover to the back cover, this book inspired, mesmerized, and energized me. What a resonant, beautifully illustrated, well-written, and incredibly important book!
Doris Raines
Feb 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Story of Lizzie Jennings fighting for her right to ride a NY streetcar and the court case that followed.
Betsey Stahler
I liked this book about a young woman making a stand for her rights in New York City before the Civil War. Lizzie Jennings was gutsy!
Tina Cho
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Most of us have heard of Rosa Parks, but another woman, Lizzie Jennings, also stood up for her right to ride. This powerful nonfiction picture book biography is a wonderful book students can contrast with Rosa Parks’s account. Anderson’s text captivates readers, and E.B. Lewis’s illustrations bring this story to life. Back matter includes detailed author notes, primary sources, and for further reading lists.
Melissa Nikohl
rated it really liked it
Feb 02, 2020
rated it really liked it
Feb 06, 2020
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Feb 12, 2020
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Goodreads Librari...: book under wrong author 4 231 Jul 14, 2019 10:39PM  

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Beth Anderson, a former teacher, loves digging into history and culture for undiscovered gems, exploring points of view, and playing with words. She is drawn to stories that open minds, touch hearts, and inspire questions. Born and raised in Illinois, she now lives in Loveland, Colorado.