The World of Elizabeth Jennings: NYC’s First Freedom Rider

Join author and historian Jerry Mikorenda for an eye-opening presentation on the early Civil Rights Movement in New York City and the life of Elizabeth Jennings, the first Freedom Rider.

  • Learn how New York City was complicit in the slave trade but also on the cutting edge of the civil rights and abolitionist movements
  • Revisit Old New York, a wild place to live
  • Discover where the historic events in the life of Elizabeth Jennings took place, including the site where she was forced off of a Third Avenue streetcar, setting in motion the fight to desegregate NYC’s public transit

About the event:

For many, the civil rights movement began with Rosa Parks’ brave stand against segregation in 1954. However, few people realize that the right for African Americans to even ride in streetcars was earned a hundred years before that in a landmark civil rights case here in New York City.

Author and Historian Jerry Mikorenda breathes life into this struggle with America’s First Freedom Rider: Elizabeth Jennings, Chester A. Arthur, and the Early Fight for Civil Rights (Rowman & Littlefield, 2020). Using rare period photos and lithographs, the author recreates “The World of Elizabeth Jennings” by exploring the sights and people of old New York as this momentous battle with the Third Avenue Railroad unfolded. The presentation will be followed by a Q&A.

About Jerry Mikorenda

Jerry’s work has appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Herald, The Gotham Center History Blog, and the 2010 Encyclopedia of New York City. His biography America’s First Freedom Rider: Elizabeth Jennings, Chester A. Arthur, and the Early Fight for Civil Rights was published in 2020. His short stories have appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, BULL, Cowboy Jamboree, and Gravel Magazine as well as other journals. His historical novel, The Whaler’s Daughter was published by Regal House in 2021, and nominated for two Kid’s Choice Awards.

Attendees will receive a link to join the webinar after completing the registration.

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