America’s First Freedom Rider by Jerry Mikorenda audiobook

America’s First Freedom Rider: Elizabeth Jennings, Chester A. Arthur, and the Early Fight for Civil Rights

By Jerry Mikorenda
Read by Kevin Kenerly

Blackstone Publishing 9781493041343
6.37 Hours 1
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In 1854, traveling was full of danger. Omnibus accidents were commonplace. Pedestrians were regularly attacked by the Five Points’ gangs. Rival police forces watched and argued over who should help. Pickpockets, drunks, and kidnappers were all part of the daily street scene in old New York. Yet somehow, they endured and transformed a trading post into the Empire City. None of this was on Elizabeth Jennings’s mind as she climbed the platform onto the Chatham Street horse-car. But her destination and that of the country took a sudden turn when the conductor told her to wait for the next car because it had “her people” in it. When she refused to step off the bus, she was assaulted by the conductor who was aided by a New York police officer. On February 22, 1855, the Elizabeth Jennings v. Third Avenue Rail Road case was settled: the jury stunned the courtroom with a $250 verdict in Lizzie’s favor. Future US president Chester A. Arthur was Jennings’s attorney and their lives would be forever onward intertwined. This is the story of what happened that day. It’s also the story of Jennings and Arthur’s families, the struggle for equality, and race relations. It’s the history of America at its most despicable and most exhilarating. Yet few historians know of Elizabeth Jennings or the impact she had on desegregating public transit.

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Summary

Summary

In 1854, traveling was full of danger. Omnibus accidents were commonplace. Pedestrians were regularly attacked by the Five Points’ gangs. Rival police forces watched and argued over who should help. Pickpockets, drunks, and kidnappers were all part of the daily street scene in old New York. Yet somehow, they endured and transformed a trading post into the Empire City.

None of this was on Elizabeth Jennings’s mind as she climbed the platform onto the Chatham Street horse-car. But her destination and that of the country took a sudden turn when the conductor told her to wait for the next car because it had “her people” in it. When she refused to step off the bus, she was assaulted by the conductor who was aided by a New York police officer. On February 22, 1855, the Elizabeth Jennings v. Third Avenue Rail Road case was settled: the jury stunned the courtroom with a $250 verdict in Lizzie’s favor. Future US president Chester A. Arthur was Jennings’s attorney and their lives would be forever onward intertwined.

This is the story of what happened that day. It’s also the story of Jennings and Arthur’s families, the struggle for equality, and race relations. It’s the history of America at its most despicable and most exhilarating. Yet few historians know of Elizabeth Jennings or the impact she had on desegregating public transit.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“Jerry Mikorenda brings to light the little-known story of civil rights champion Elizabeth Jennings, who broke racial barriers by integrating New York’s transit system a century before Rosa Parks.” Lisa Keller, Professor of History, Purchase College SUNY & Executive Editor of the Encyclopedia of New York City
“Here’s a story every American should know…America’s First Freedom Rider is an impressive and inspiring weaving of our history, and a timely reminder that one person can change the world.” Stewart O’Nan, author of The Circus Fire

Reviews

Reviews

by Odin 10/26/2021
Overall Performance
Narration
Story

A much needed reminder

As read by Kevin Kenerly, this biography written by Jerry Mikorenda of Elizabeth Jennings and Chester Arthur gives us a keen insight into the legacy of a black civil rights leader. With so many communities choosing to avoid teaching this kind of history to children, it is indeed encouraging to come across a well documented and narrated book to be an option for when the children show interest. No one should go through life and not be aware of extent of black suffering that has been endured. One can hope that one day the incorrect distinctions of the past will merge into an acceptable willingness to see less color distinction between colored and white.
by Odin 10/8/2021
Overall Performance
Narration
Story

An Eye Opener

Most listeners will be enlightened with the fact that a century before Rosa Parks, there was Elizabeth Jennings, a woman considerably ahead of her time. Mikorenda paints a vivid picture, unlike what we are used to with its stark depiction of racial inequality in the 1800s. Coming from a strong and courageous family, Elizabeth’s activism is portrayed in reflections that are unique and revealing. This is a well written, expressing characters that ring true to the times. Worth reading.

Author

Author Bio: Jerry Mikorenda

Author Bio: Jerry Mikorenda

Jerry Mikorenda’s articles and op-eds have appeared in the New York Times, Newsday, the Boston Herald, San Francisco Chronicle, and Wall Street Journal, as well as various other magazines. He is also a graduate of the prestigious Master’s Program at Syracuse University’s S. I. Newhouse School.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Nonfiction/History
Runtime: 6.37
Audience: Adult
Language: English